David with the Head of Goliath thumbnail 1
David with the Head of Goliath thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Cast Courts, Room 46b, The Weston Cast Court

David with the Head of Goliath

c.1475 (sculpted), ca. 1899 (cast)
Place Of Origin

object details
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Plaster cast, painted plaster.
Brief Description
Plaster cast, painted plaster, of David with the head of Goliath, after the bronze original with traces of gilding in the Museo Nazionale (Bargello), Florence, by Andrea del Verrocchio, in about 1475. Probably cast in Berlin, about 1899.
  • Height: 126.5cm
Gallery Label
The biblical figure of David was used as a symbol of freedom by the Florentine Republic. Verrocchio made his David as a challenge to a statue of the same subject by Donatello, a cast of which is displayed nearby. With its finely detailed clothing and the startlingly naturalistic head of Goliath, Verrocchio's figure introduced a new realism. In the 19th century, it was one of the most famous sculptures of the Italian Renaissance and the leading cast collections all included a copy of it.(2014)
Object history
Acquired as an exchange with the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, in 1899
Historical context
This work is documented as a Medici commission, although it is not certain whether it was ordered by Piero di Cosimo de 'Medici (1416-69) or by one of his sons, Lorenzo (the Magnificent) (1449-92) or Giuliano (1479-1516). In 1476, Lorenzo and his brother sold Verrocchio's David to the Florentine Signoria for the Palazzo Vecchio. In 1898, the figure passed into the Museo Nazionale
Subjects depicted
Accession Number

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record createdJuly 10, 2000
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