David and Goliath Artemisia Gentileschi Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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David and Goliath is a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi which has only recently been attributed to the artist. The piece is dated to around the 1630s.

It is believed that this artwork passed through the collection of Charles I and it must be remembered that the artist spent two years living in England towards the end of her life. For a number of years the artwork was attributed to a number of male artists, and this was a common problem with her ouevre before recent attempts to right some of these wrongs.

It is amongst the largest of paintings from her career, at over two metres in height, making it at least life size. The detail was hard to discern initially, but recent work has helped to bring out some of the original work added by the artist all those centuries ago.

Respected restorer Simon Gillespie was involved in much of this work and the piece has now been accepted into the famous painter's oeuvre. Indeed, a number of other works from her career have been added in the past century, as knowledge and awareness of her achievements has grown considerably.


David poses in a relaxed manner, with an open sky scene breaking out in the background. He wears a white shirt and boasts long brown hair. He looks directly at the viewer, with an expression of satisfaction, having pulled off a remarkable victory.

The artist uses the rest of the canvas to add elements of detail which connect to the original story of David and Goliath, whilst also setting the environment in which the battle would originally have been fought.

David was from a modest background and this is represented by his clothing within this artwork. Artemisia rarely painted men, but they still appear from time to time within her ouevre, even though some scholars had originally only focused on her female portraits.

David and Goliath, thanks to the impressive work of some skilled restorers, has now been welcomed back into the artist's oevure and may receive an increased focus in future years, which its arrival only occurring relatively recently.

Other Interpretations

Many artists have used this theme within their work, particularly within the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Its symbolism is perfect for powerful scenes, where the unfancied rise to achieve the impossible. Typically, these artists will feature the head of Goliath as a marker of the recent battle, though some prefer to actually focus on the conflict itself.

Large Image of David and Goliath

See below for a larger image of the painting, featuring some of the detail originally added by Artemisia. Many of her artworks have not been preserved over the centuries as well as we might have liked, making it harder to appreciate some of the work that she accomplished during the Baroque era.

David and Goliath in Detail Artemisia Gentileschi