David with the head of Goliath by Guido Reni

David with the head of Goliath by Guido Reni

The artist of the Bologna school, where academicism flourished, Guido Reni was also influenced by Caravaggio. He took the master’s conviction that art should be as close as possible to reality, so you should not be afraid to depict even unpleasant or scary things.

This synthesis of passionate, realistic painting and academic manner was embodied in Reni’s painting “David with the Head of Goliath”. One of the peculiarities of Caravaggism was the contrasting illumination that the artist uses here, but his light is not as warm as that of Caravaggio, but rather cool.

Biblical shepherd

David, who defeated the giant, stands in a graceful pose, in a cap with a feather and looking at the head of the enemy detachedly, written with naturalistic details. The tradition of depicting David as a beautiful young man was established in Italian art in the 15th century, as exemplified by the statue of Donatello.

But the contrast between the young, flourishing hero, personifying life itself, and the terrible head of a murdered giant, on which Reni’s work is built, was characteristic of the art of Mannerism and academism.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)