Minimal changes were detected in the two women shown in this detail, indicating that they were planned during the initial stages of the composition. The arms of the left woman were enlarged as well as her shoulder.
Only slight changes were made to Goliath's head. This area is very thinly painted and was likely executed during the early stages of the composition.
Two smaller female heads (in conversation) were part of the original composition. At some point there were covered with the blue paint of the sky and replaced with a single female head.
Slight adjustments were made to King Saul's head as it was initially much larger. The original position of the crown can clearly be seen in the x-ray image.
Trio of Soldiers
Multiple changes were made to the position of the soldier's feet and legs.
Although it is extremely faint in the x-ray image, the face and hand of a small child can be seen just below the elbow of the woman standing in the background. This child was part of the original composition.composition only to be abandoned at a later stage.
This figure was by far the most dramatic discovery that was made during the x-ray imaging session. Cross-sectional paint samples showed brilliant colors of pain beneath the black shield but only the x-ray revealed that these colors belonged to a figure of a kneeling man holding a fasces, an object that is often associated with the power of the Roman magistrate and does appear in a few of Cortona's works as well as other paintings from this period. The head and hands of the man are beautifully sculpted and further examination suggests that his robes were painted using yellow ochre and lapis lazuli. It is not clear why this fully painted figure holding a symbolic object was ultimately painted out of the composition.
The x-ray image revealed that the two figures flanking the composition experienced a considerable number of changes, especially throughout the drapery. The bulky and awkward position of the kneeling woman's feet suggests that a painter or apprentice with less experience may have worked in this area. It was not uncommon for the edges of large format paintings to remain unfinished for a period of time, eventually being completed and/or adjusted by the original painter or a different artist at a later date.
Elderly Man and Fellow Soldiers
The head and shoulder of the left soldier was re-positioned and may have originally depicted a younger soldier altogether. The contours of the central soldier were also changed multiple times.
Abner and David
Several changes were made to the figures of Abner and David. Abner's elaborate feather plume can clearly be seen in the x-ray image as well as the original position of his head and helmet. The hilt of David's sword was initially above his head while multiple changes were made to the hands and fingers of both figures.
Soldier with Shield
The x-ray image revealed that the two figures flanking the composition experienced a considerable number of changes, especially throughout the drapery. The bulky and awkward proportions of the soldier's head and arm suggests that a painter or apprentice with less experience may have worked in this area. It was not uncommon for the edges of large format paintings to remain unfinished for a period of time, eventually being completed and/or adjusted by the original painter or a different artist at a later date. Here the entire figure was enlarged as the original position of the arm and shoulder can be seen in the x-ray. Cross-sectional analysis also revealed that the soldier was originally depicted wearing an elaborate metal tunic (lorica segmentata) instead of a yellow fabric tunic.