David with the Head of Goliath [Guido Reni]

Jennifer Tucker

Contributor

If you want to look like a BAMF, you might want to consider taking a lesson in badassery from Guido Reni’s painting of David and Goliath.

I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but something about David in this picture really does it for me.  Maybe it’s his pimp hat and luxurious animal pelts or that irresistible nip slip, but he has an undeniable air of confidence. Like he's saying, “Yeah I killed a giant, no big deal.” Cool as a muthalovin’ cucumber.

This is Reni’s rendition of a Biblical story. In the story, the giant Goliath is creating a violent ruckus in battle and requests that a single Israelite fight him one on one. A poor move really, for young David had some tricks up his sleeves, or furs in this case. All it took was one rock from David’s sling and down went the mighty Goliath, bested by the same weapon as Dennis the Menace.

In contemporary culture, the David and Goliath story exemplifies our love of the underdog. I can’t cultivate too much pity for David since he appears to be pretty self-assured. He looks at his prize like a painter gazes at a coveted piece of art. In fact, in Italian the word “masterpiece” translates to capolavoro, which literally means head work. Coincidence? I think not. Ultimately, we can only hope that David didn’t display his cranial trophy on the wall like an artist would their masterpiece. I'm not convinced that taxidermy practices were up to snuff back in biblical times.