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This episode from the Old Testament took place during the war between the Israelites and the Philistines. When the two armies came face to face, the giant Goliath, champion of the Philistines, challenged his enemy’s soldiers to a duel to decide the outcome of the battle. Only the young shepherd David, who had come to bring food to his older brothers at the front, agreed to stand against Goliath in the name of God, armed with his slingshot. Having stunned him, he seized the giant’s sword and cut off his head. The foreshortened depiction of Goliath’s imposing corpse occupies two thirds of the composition. Kneeling, David raises his arms to heaven in a gesture of gratitude while the battle rages on in the background.

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