Ahimelech Giving the Sword of Goliath to David

Object Details

Title:

Ahimelech Giving the Sword of Goliath to David

Artist/Maker(s):

Aert de Gelder (Dutch, 1645 - 1727)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

about 1680s

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

91.8 x 132.4 cm (36 1/8 x 52 1/8 in.)

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The painting's subject comes from the Old Testament: the first book of Samuel, which describes the turning point in David's relationship with King Saul. The priest Ahimelech gives the sword of Goliath to the young David, who won it in battle. When King Saul learned that this symbol of power had been given to David, he had Ahimelech murdered.

The sleeve and headdress of the priest Ahimelech reveal scratches and uneven working of the pigment so it catches the light in vivid contrasting highlights. Aert de Gelder made these scratches with a paint knife or the end of a brush, which he often used to highlight the paint surface. De Gelder was a pupil of Rembrandt, and the influence of Rembrandt's late style is evident in his choice of half-length, life-size figures, muted colors, and expressive brushstrokes.

Provenance
in late 1700s -

Private Collection (Dordrecht, The Netherlands)

by 1942 - 1960

Mrs. Andrew R. Motion, died by 1960 [unsold, Christie's, London, June 19, 1942, lot 20; sold, Motion sale, Sotheby's, London, March 23, 1960, lot 139, through Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd. (London, England), to J. Paul Getty.]

1960 - 1976

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976 (Malibu, California; Sutton Place, Surrey, England), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1976 - 1978

Estate of J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, distributed to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

Exhibitions
The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972, (Cat. 30)
The Visible World: Painting During the Golden Age in Dordrecht (November 29, 1992 to February 28, 1993)
  • Dordrechts Museum, (Dordrecht), November 29, 1992 to February 28, 1993, (Cat. 39)
The Glory of the Golden Age (April 15 to September 17, 2000)
  • Rijksmuseum, (Amsterdam), April 15 to September 17, 2000, (Cat. 149)
Bibliography

The J. Paul Getty Collection, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1972), unpaginated, no. 30, ill., cover ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 56.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 141.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 48, ill.

Kiers, Judikje, and Fieke Tissink. The Glory of the Golden Age: Dutch Art of the 17th Century, exh. cat. 2 vols. (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, with Waanders, 2000), vol. 1, pp. 218-19, 338, no. 149, ill.

Kiers, Judikje, and Fieke Tissink. The Golden Age of Dutch Art: Painting, Sculpture, Decorative Art, exh. cat. Bart Cornelis and Jan Piet Filedt Kok, eds. (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, with Thames & Hudson, 2000), pp. 218-19, 338, no. 149, ill.

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