The Story of David and Goliath

In the top left corner, David tends his flock; in the left middle-ground, he selects stones for his sling; further to the right, David refuses armour; right of centre, he aims his sling at Goliath. In the centre foreground David decapitates Goliath.

'The Story of David and Goliath', like its companion, 'The Triumph of David' was probably painted around 1450 by the Florentine painter, Pesellino. They were probably panels from a piece of furniture. The original patron is not known. However, it has been suggested that they were painted for a member of the Medici family.

They are generally considered to be amongst Pesellino's greatest paintings. They represent Pesellino's small-scale, miniaturist style. If they were commissioned by a member of the Medici family they are linked to other paintings in the same room in the National Gallery which were owned by the family - 'The Annunciation' and 'Seven Saints' by Fra Filippo Lippi, and Uccello's 'Battle of San Romano' - Pesellino was clearly influenced by Uccello and indeed in his foreshortening of horses could be said to have surpassed him.

Key facts

Artist dates
1422 - 1457
Full title
The Story of David and Goliath
Date made
about 1445-55
Medium and support
Tempera on wood
45.5 x 179.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought with the assistance of the Art Fund and a number of gifts in wills, 2000
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Story of David Panels from a Pair of Cassoni (?)

Francesco Pesellino
about 1445-55
Francesco Pesellino: 'The Triumph of David'