FETTI, Domenico
(b. ca. 1589, Roma, d. 1623, Venezia)


c. 1620
Oil on canvas, 173 x 127 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Fetti made repeated use of the subject of David. Two other versions of the subject are to be found in Dresden and in the Viezzoli Collection in Genoa.

An innovator — together with Liss and Strozzi — of early seventeenth-century Venetian painting, Fetti was clearly influenced by Caravaggio in this work. He arrived in Venice in 1621 and died there two years later. In this short time he painted the series of fine Parables, in which he managed to fuse Caravaggio's world and the Veneto universe; in these paintings the light, moving unfettered and increasingly restlessly, loosens up Caravaggio's powerful chromatic substance to the point of ultimately dissolving and eroding it to the utmost.

Here again it is light that takes over, light instinct with touches of Lombard and Roman feeling, and fleshy, soft Rubensian brushwork that moves freely in setting this youth in the colour-scheme as more than a figure of myth — with the attributes of a man of his time — rather than of the victor of Goliath the giant. Thus, with inventive freedom and freshness of vision, Fetti envelops any subject, profane or religious, with the warmth of human sympathy.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 11 minutes):
Johann Kuhnau: The Fight between David and Goliath (No. 1 of the 6 Stories from the Bible illustrated in music)