The J. Paul Getty Museum

David with His Sword

Object Details


David with His Sword


Salomon de Bray (Dutch, 1597 - 1664)






Oil on canvas

Object Number:



62.2 × 50.8 cm (24 1/2 × 20 in.)

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Object Description

In the classic biblical tale of faith, daring, and skill overcoming brute strength and superior odds (1 Samuel 17), the shepherd boy David slew the armored Philistine giant Goliath with just a stave, a slingshot, and a pouch containing a few pebbles from a local brook. After stunning Goliath with a stone from his slingshot, David quickly took up the giant's sword and severed his head.

Assured that his audience knew the story, Salomon de Bray could evoke a meaningful narrative by depicting only a boy with an oversize sword. De Bray's David embodies youth and naiveté; he is an ordinary, rather blank-faced Dutch youth, not an idealized heroic type.

David with His Sword shares the same size, medium, and composition with the artist's Bust of Samson; they were probably paired as pendants or as part of a series of Old Testament heroes.

by 1960s -

Private Collection (England), sold to Di Castro & Figlio.

- 1969

Di Castro & Figlio (Rome, Italy), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1969.

Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 26 to March 30, 1973)
  • California State University (Northridge), February 26 to March 30, 1973
Haarlem: The Seventeenth Century (February 20 to April 17, 1983)
  • Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University (New Brunswick), February 20 to April 17, 1983

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972), p. 80, no. 100.

Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. cat. (Northridge: California State University, 1973), pp. 2-3, no. 4, ill.

Bader, Alfred. The Bible through Dutch Eyes: From Genesis through the Apocrypha, exh. cat. (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Center, 1976), p. 84, under no. 37.

Thiel, P. J. J. van. "De betekenis van het portret van Verdonck door Frans Hals: De ikonografie van het kakebeen." Oud Holland 94 (1980), pp. 123-26, fig. 15.

Hofrichter, Frima Fox. Haarlem: The Seventeenth Century, exh. cat. (New Brunswick: Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, 1983), p. 65, no. 17, ill.

Moiso-Diekamp, Cornelia. Das Pendant in der holländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1987), pp. 84, 315, cat. S. de Bray B1.

Dirkse, Paul P. W. M., et al. Vermaakt aan de staat: Het legaat Thurkow-van Huffel, exh. cat. (Utrecht: Rijksmuseum Het Catharijneconvent, 1988), p. 13.

Slive, Seymour, ed. Frans Hals, exh. cat. (Munich: Prestel, 1989), p. 200, under no. 24.

Schillemans, Robert. Bijbelschilderkunst rond Rembrandt (Utrecht: Kwadraat, 1989), p. 38.

Gent, Judith van, and Gabriël M. C. Pastoor. "Die Zeit der Richter." In Im Lichte Rembrandts: Das Alte Testament im Goldenen Zeitalter der niederländischen Kunst, exh. cat. Christian Tümpel, ed. (Zwolle: Waanders Verlag, 1994), p. 85n5.

"Bray, Salomon." In Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1996) band 14, vol. 14, p. 32.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 16, ill.

Biesboer, Pieter, ed. Painting Family: The De Brays; Master Painters of 17th Century Holland, exh. cat. (Haarlem: Frans Halsmuseum, with Waanders, 2008), p. 138n1, 138n2, under no. 2.