RENI, Guido
(b. 1575, Calvenzano, d. 1642, Bologna)

David with the Head of Goliath

c. 1605
Oil on canvas, 220 x 147 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The subject of this painting is most certainly in keeping with the repertoire of the Caravaggisti, but is portrayed here with elegant detachment rather than tragic sentiment. David's pose is that of a dandy, with red feathered hat and his body illuminated by a moonlike light and barely covered by a rich cloak trimmed with fur; the light softly defines his body, while the shadow is propagated from the background. The youth is contemplating the giant severed head of Goliath; the action has already taken place and the drama has already melted into meditation.

The subject of David and Goliath was a great success: there is a beautiful version in the Louvre and copies can be found in various museums all over Europe.