week 24 of 2018

week24Artwork of the week is “David and the head of Goliath” by GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARACCIOLO, part of the NGZ permanent collection.
This artwork is part of the exhibition Zimbabwe meets Italy which is currently showing.

The artwork is based on the biblical story of David and Goliath. The young David is central and isolated, holding the decapitated head of the giant, Goliath, which rests on a plinth. The hero stands out from the dark background, appearing in the foreground bathed in an almost violent light, in a relaxed pose, apparently detached from the bloody deed he has just committed. His sitting posture, austere but serene face, an ostentatious show of contemporaneousness: all of the details in the composition are constructed using a “masking” technique. Battistello uses a traditional dark preparation of the picture for the background and the shadows. The shapes are rendered using a few, mainly earth colours, with strong highlights for emphasis.
The artist behind this artwork was an Italian and important Neapolitan follower of Caravaggio. Archival documents state Caracciolo was born in Naples and baptised on 7 December 1578, as the son of Cesare Caracciolo and his wife Elena.

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