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Relief - David and Goliath
  • David and Goliath
    Bossuit, Francis van, born 1635 - died 22
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David and Goliath

  • Object:

    Relief

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (South, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1675 - ca. 1692 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bossuit, Francis van, born 1635 - died 22 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory relief

  • Museum number:

    A.3-1989

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 6, The Lisa and Bernard Selz Gallery, case CA13

This ivory relief depicting David and Goliath is made by Francis van Bossuit in the Netherlands in c. 1675-92. The young beardless David is shown reclining, wearing loose drapery, which reveals his upper body and legs, holding a sword in his left hand, and resting his right arm on Goliath's head. The relief is illustrated in Matthew Pool's published engravings of van Bossuit's work, The Statue's or Art's Cabinet of 1727. Both the smooth carving of David's body, resembling wax, and the contrasting rough dappling of the background, are typical of the artist. Bosuit was one of the most accomplished ivory carvers of the late 17th century and the subtlety of this relief bears out his admirers' claim that he could carve ivory "as if it was wax". It was almost certainly carved in Amsterdam, where Bossuit moved late in his career, having spent many years in Italy.

Physical description

The young beardless David is shown reclining, semi-draped, his left leg bent, his right leg extended, leaning against the bearded head of Goliath, and holding a sword in his left hand. Stylised clouds and grass are shown, and the rest of the background is punched, a distinctive detail of Bossuit's work.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (South, made)

Date

ca. 1675 - ca. 1692 (made)

Artist/maker

Bossuit, Francis van, born 1635 - died 22 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Ivory relief

Dimensions

Height: 10.3 cm, Width: 18.6 cm, Depth: 1 cm

Object history note

In the collection of Mary Dorothy Rittner, Herts, UK. Bought from her for £21,000 in 1989. From 1974-1989 the object was on loan to the museum from Miss Mary Dorothy Rittner.

Descriptive line

Relief, ivory, David and the head of Goliath, by Francis van Bossuit, South Netherlands, ca. 1675-92

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Theuerkauff, Christian, 'Zu Francis van Bossuit (1635-1692), ', in: Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch, XXXVII, 1975, p. 128, fig. 15
Williamson, Paul, "Acquisition of Sculpture at the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1986-1991", in: Burlington Magazine, Dec. 1991, p. 879
Theuerkauff, Christian, ed. Elfenbein, Sammlung Reiner Winkler, Vol II, 1994, p. 151
Baker, M., "Francis von Bossuit, Böttger Stoneware and the 'Judith' Reliefs", in: Kahsnitz, R. and Volk, P., eds, Skulptur in Süddeutschland 1400-1770: Festschrift für Alfred Schädler, Munich, 1998, p. 290, fig. 14, and p. 294
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 98
Brown, Christopher and Joyce Plesters, Art in 17th century Holland, London: the National Gallery, 1976.

Labels and date

DAVID WITH THE HEAD OF GOLIATH
Netherlandish, about 1670-1690
Ivory
By Francois van Bossuit (1635-1692)

Bossuit was one of the most accomplished ivory carvers of the late 17th century and the subtlety of this relief bears out his admirers’ claim that he could carve ivory “as if it were wax”. This relief was almost certainly carved in Amsterdam, where Bossuit moved late in his career, having spent many years in Italy.
[1993 - 2011]

Materials

Ivory

Techniques

Relief

Subjects depicted

Clouds; Sword

Categories

Myths & Legends; Sculpture; Reliefs; Gender and Sexuality

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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