For his Head of Goliath, Giovanni Francesco Susini followed an Antique model: he borrowed the seated motif from the marble statue of Mars Ludovisi, and varied it slightly. His own small bronze copy also shows that he had studied this ancient sculpture. In his interpretation of the theme, Susini highlighted the contrast between the slender boyish youth, with his delicate, even features, and the crude, heavy head of Goliath, which with its wild hair and ungainly forms is an element that represents the whole of the terrifying figure of the giant. David presents his naked, unprotected body in a markedly open pose, thus giving viewers an idea of the danger he faces. The Philistine’s enormous sword demonstrates Goliath’s physical superiority, overcome by David. The boy seems to be reflecting about his incredible achievement.
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Giovanni Francesco Susini
David with the Head of Goliath, 1625/1630
Bronze with matt brown varnish on red-gold patina
height 30 cm
Signed on the left edge and the back of the stool: FRAN.SVSINI F.
Inv.-No. SK565
Provenance: listed in Prince Karl Eusebius von Liechtenstein’s Quardaroba inventory of 1658
Further works on display
Hercules and a Centaur, c. 1625/1650
Hercules and Antaeus, c. 1625/1650
Laocoön, 1625/1650
The Farnese Bull, 1625/1650
Kneeling Woman Bathing, 1625/1650
Venus Chastising Cupid, 1638
Venus Burning Cupid’s Arrows, 1638
Striding Horse, c. 1650
Striding Bull, c. 1650
The Saccomazzone Players, 1625/1650
Related themes
Bronzes from the Collections of the Prince von und zu Liechtenstein
Les Bronzes du Prince de Liechtenstein – Highlights of the exhibition
New acquisitions >>