David and Goliath

My editing brain never turns off, so one of the things I plan to do frequently on this blog is share my rewrites of museum labels, other signage, and perhaps trashy novels. If you’ve got some labels you’d like to nominate for rewriting, send ’em along. Here’s a label I found on Flickr:

Marshall Astor, some rights reserved


And my rewrite:

This early fresco by Guercino shows the biblical story of David, who, against all odds,
killed the Philistine giant Goliath and beheaded him with the giant’s own sword.

Fresco is a technique in which paint is applied to fresh plaster. As the plaster dries,
it bonds with the pigment. (A good portion of the tree on the right, however,
was painted on top of the dry plaster, using pigments bound with glue or egg.)

Fresco painting was normally used for large-scale architectural decorations rather than smaller-scale works such as this. It is possible that Guercino did this painting as an exercise in mastering the fresco technique.

My intent was to make the label more coherent by keeping all the information on the subject matter (David and Goliath) together, rather than mentioning it at top and bottom; make it more readable by breaking the information into chunks and shortening one very long sentence; and improve the flow by putting some parenthetical information in… parentheses. And my version is eight words shorter.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: