David with the Head of Goliath

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David with the Head of Goliath

At first glance, I instantly recognized this work to be a depiction of David and Goliath. Since we had previously discussed similar works in class, this particular scene was very interesting to me.

The painting itself with its dark dramatic lighting, earthly tones and realistic characters, is strikingly similar to the same scene paint by Caravaggio. The two paintings almost scream for a comparison. The expression of Vignon’s David seems to be one of intense contemplation. As if David is in deep thought and/or shock over the event that had just occurred. David’s facial expression gives the painting a somber and almost remorseful tone; rather than a victorious mood one would expect. Another aspect of Vignon’s painting is the way David is dressed. Draped in fabric obviously not true to the time, David appears both royal as well as somewhat feminine. However David’s feminine appearance could be a highlight of how amazing his accomplishment really was. The depiction of Vignon’s David conquering such a beast is more impressive than if David was portrayed in a more manly fashion. One of the most effective techniques is Vignon’s usage of light. The artist’s choice of lighting immediately draws the viewer’s eye towards David. The eye then follows the beam of light down to the massive visage of the lifeless Goliath; giving the work of art “flow.”

Claude Vignon’s David with the Head of Goliath, is quite obviously focused on a recognizable subject matter being the Old Testament story that we all know so well. What Vignon brings to the popular scene to make it his own is the emotion surrounding the event. As previously mention its is that of a saddened child unsure of what he’s done, rather than that of a soldier victorious in battle; an emotion not previously portrayed in a work of art.
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