David with the Head of Goliath Michele Desubleo


Michele Desubleo Maubeuge 1602 – 1676 Parma

Date: ca. 1630–1640
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 98.5 x 84.4 cm with frame: 121 x 107.5 x 8.5 cm
Type: painting
Inventory number: 499
Collection: Old Master Paintings

This “portrait” of the victorious David, formerly assigned to the circle of the Bolognese Domenichino, has only recently been attributed to Michele Desubleo, half-brother of Nicolas Regnier. The Flemish master, who established himself in Italy, came under the spell of caravaggism in Rome, but the years spent in the workshop of Guido Reni from 1636 onwards turned his art towards classicism. The elegant, aristocratic refinement of the pondering hero, placing his elbow on the severed head of his victim, already reflect Desubleo’s Bolognese links. On the other hand, the marked plasticity of the naked upper body reflects his experience with naturalism. In Aberdeen there is a version of the composition, complemented with a landscape background.

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