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

David (detail)

c. 1620
Oil on canvas, 175 x 128 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

After early training in the studios of followers of Caravaggio in Rome, Domenico Fetti moved to Mantua in 1614. Here he came into contact with the exuberant painting of Rubens and with masterpieces of the great sixteenth century Venetian artists. Thus he began to work within the cultural ambit of Venice and after a first visit there in 1621 he returned to settle in the city in the following year. This David belongs to the Mantua years and is an excellent example of the fresh, lively freedom of invention of Fetti. The sensuality of the colours and the skilful placing of the figure prevail over the inky darkness of the shadows. And the young cavalier, as he places the symbols of his iconographical identity in the shadows, offers himself to the light resplendent in the brilliantly colourful tokens of his rank and his era: the red plumed cap placed boldly on his head, the downy collar and his olive-green jacket with its fashionable slashed sleeves.