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Title David with the Head of Goliath
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Caletti, Giuseppe (Italian painter and printmaker, ca.1600-ca.1660)
Date Earliest about 1630
Date Latest about 1660
Description David holding the head of the giant Goliath. This Bible story represents the triumph of faith over might. Goliath was a Philistine hero who, according to the bible (I Samuel 17) was nine feet tall. He issued a challenge to the Israelites that their best warrior should fight him and if he won, the Israelites would be his slaves, but if he lost, the Philistines would be enslaved. Goliath issued his challenge for forty days but no one was brave enough to meet him in single combat. The young shepherd, David, heard his challenge and went to fight him without armour or sword. He killed Goliath using a stone and a sling and cut off his head with his own sword which, in this painting, David holds over his shoulder. Guiseppe Caletti was a minor painter active in Ferrara from about 1630 to his death in 1660. Caletti was strongly influenced by Guercino's early Caravaggesque works and their dramatic lighting, and his works have often been misattributed to him.
Current Accession Number 1960P42
Former Accession Number P.4260
Subject religion (David and Goliath)
Measurements 73.7 x 88.3 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by the Friends of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery 1960.
Provenance 2nd Viscount Palmerston; Lord Mount Temple; Viscountess Mountbatten of Burma; Colnaghi, 1960.
Principal Exhibitions From Borso to Cesare d'Este 1450 - 1628, Matthieson Fine Art, 1984.
Publications Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 20, ill.
Notes Glued to reverse of canvas, an attribution to Guercino, written in ink in cursive script on aged hand laid paper, with two wax seals, 'Vero Originale del Guercino W'. Another label, written in ink 'DAVID WITH THE HEAD OF GOLIATH - OIL PAINTING BY GUISEPPE CALETTI (c. 1600 - 1660) Collections: 2nd Viscount Lord Palmerston, Lord Mount Temple, Lady Mountbatten of Burma, Broadlands, Hants.'

Dr Ferdinand Bologna suggested this painting is by Ludovico Lana (1597 - 1640) but Professor Longhi is of the opinion that it is by Guiseppe Caletti.

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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