And My Sin Is Ever before Me" (Psalm 51:3): A-temporality in Seventeenth-Century Paintings of King David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The article highlights the added value with which the scene of David with the head of Goliath has accumulated in the seventeenth century. During this period these paintings were intended to represent the young David as a penitent saint atoning for his sins rather than the divinely supported triumph of the young shepherd over Goliath, the skilled and talented military hero. What is emphasized is the a-temporal nature of this iconography, using David, the boy who killed Goliath as atoning for his most grievous sin that he committed many years later when he was already king of Israel toward Uriah the Hittite. In what follows I would like to characterize the unique iconography developed in the early seventeenth century, which represents the young David as a penitent while Goliath's head signals the memento mori. Goliath's severed head stands for the skulls appearing in other visual representations of penitent saints.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)32-60
Number of pages29
JournalReligion and the Arts
Volume26
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 24 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Guercino
  • Guido Reni
  • King David
  • Mary Magdalene
  • a-temporality
  • penitence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • History
  • Religious studies

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