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David with His Sword
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Salomon de Bray
Dutch, 1636
Oil on canvas
24 1/2 x 20 in.
69.PA.22

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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 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.