David with His Sword

Object Details


David with His Sword


Salomon de Bray (Dutch, 1597 - 1664)






Oil on canvas


62.2 x 50.8 cm (24 1/2 x 20 in.)

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In the classic biblical tale of faith, daring, and skill overcoming brute strength and superior odds (1 Samuel), 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 Swordshares 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. 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.

Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1996) 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, et al. 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.