David with the Head of Goliath
Jacopo del Sellaio (Jacopo di Archangelo), Italian (active Florence), 1441/42 - 1493, and Argonaut Master, Italian (active Florence), active c. 1450 - c. 1475.
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In the 1400s, the Old Testament David was a particularly significant figure for the citizens of Florence, Italy, who identified the independence of their republican government with the young hero David defeating the tyrant Goliath. Sellaio’s painting appears to be partially inspired by a bronze statue of David made by Andrea del Verrocchio (Italian, 1435–1488) for the Medici family. Another statue of David by the sculptor Donatello, housed in Florence’s city hall, had an inscription praising those who fight bravely for the fatherland, and small-scale paintings like this one by Sellaio would have been viewed in similarly patriotic terms.
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