Private Collection (Ireland)
Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, July 12, 1972, lot 118, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]
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David with the Head of Goliath
Pietro Novelli (Italian (Sicilian), 1603 - 1647)
Oil on canvas
129.5 × 102.2 cm (51 × 40 1/4 in.)
A muscular young man with a strong profile, who looks fully destined to kill a giant and to reign as Israel's king, this David is no innocent boy with a slingshot. Carelessly cradling Goliath's huge, severed head with one arm and his oversize sword in the other, he gazes off into the future.
Pietro Novelli set David against a blank background, pushed his three-quarter-length body up close to the picture plane, and portrayed him as a common man rather than a patrician, following Caravaggio's famous examples. He followed Jusepe de Ribera in using a dark
Sotheby & Co., London. Catalogue of Important Old Master Paintings. July 12, 1972, p. 68, lot 118.
Peintures italiennes du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Marseille, exh. cat. (Marseille: Palais Longchamp, 1984), p. 85, under no. 48, entry by Christiane Swaton-Escoffre.
Herding, Klaus. Review of Pierre et François Puget, peintres baroque, by Marie-Christine Gloton. The Burlington Magazine129, no. 1014 (September 1987), p. 600, fig. 42.
Brejon de Lavergnée, Arnauld. Musées de France: Répertoire des peintures italiennes du XVIIe siècle (Paris: Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1988), p. 244.
Pietro Novelli e il suo ambiente, exh. cat. (Palermo: Albergo dei poveri, with Flaccovio, 1990), pp. 260-61, no. II.38, ill.
Bonaccorso, Maria Tèresa. "L'ultimo dei grandi sulla mostra 'Pietro Novelli e il suo Ambiente.'" Quaderni dell'Istituto di storia dell'arte medievale e moderna, facoltà di lettere e filosofia Università di Messina 14 (1990), p. 32.
Cicala, Francesca Campagna. "Considerazioni sugli esordi di Pietro Novelli tra Roma e Napoli." Storia dell'Arte 75 (May-August 1992), pp. 186-87n13.
Lang, Walther K. Grausame Bilder: Sadismus in der neapolitanischen Malerei von Caravaggio bis Giordano (Berlin: Reimer, 2001), p. 324n775.