Colnaghi Foundation Journal 04 - Page 124



122
Pedro Orrente and the Nine Worthies
Pedro Orrente and the Nine Worthies
123
Fig. 7 / Pedro Orrente, David,
oil on canvas, 76 x 62.5 cm,
Madrid, Museo Nacional de
Artes Decorativas.
Fig. 8 / Pedro Orrente, David, oil
on canvas, 150 x 110 cm, parish
church of Chelva (Valencia).
Fig. 9 / Pedro Orrente, David,
pen and ink, sepia wash,
yellowish paper, 354 x 298 mm,
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional.
The next Old Testament hero included among the
Nine Worthies is King David, successor to Saul, whose
stories and deeds are recounted in the Book of Daniel.
Pedro Orrente chose to depict the familiar episode of
combat between the youthful David, depicted without
armour and only equipped with his sling, and the
Philistine giant Goliath.19
Versions of David Victorious over Goliath by Orrente
survive in the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas
in Madrid (fig. 7) and also in the parish church in
Chelva (Valencia) (fig. 8). Both bear the inscription:
BELLA PVER GESSIT DAVID, CANVSQUE
SVBEGIT MARTE SENEX IVVENEM, MARTE
GIGANTA PVER.20 A further David by Orrente (oil
on canvas, 160 x 114.5 cm) is also located in a private
collection in Madrid. In addition, Sotheby’s London
offered a David with the Head of Goliath as “North
Italian School, 17th century”, although this is in fact a
work by the studio of Orrente following the master’s
model.21 Another copy by the workshop was sold at
Balclis, inscribed DAVID REX.22 Within Orrente’s
series of the Nine Worthies, the David Defeating Goliath
is of particular importance given the survival of
a preparatory drawing for the composition by the
artist’s hand, now in the Biblioteca Nacional (fig. 9)
and formerly in the collection of José Madrazo.23

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