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Story of David Panels from a Pair of Cassoni (?)


There’s so much going on in these pictures that it’s hard to make out the story. Battles and parades, knights and nobles, horses, hounds, lions, bears and giants are crammed in a flowery Tuscan landscape. Although it looks like a fairy tale set in medieval Italy, the story comes from the Bible and tells how a brave shepherd boy, David, married a princess after defeating a giant, Goliath.

The long shape of each painting is due to their original function. They would probably have been set into the panelling of a private room, possibly over a chest. We don't know exactly who they were made for, but emblems associated with the Medici, the ruling family of Florence in the fifteenth century, are shown on some of the clothing. They might have been made for a Medici marriage.