The Death of Samson

Object Details

Title:

The Death of Samson

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown maker, Italian, probably Genoese School

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1650

Medium:

Oil on canvas (unlined)

Dimensions:

99.1 x 110.5 cm (39 x 43 1/2 in.)

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Blinded and shackled to the columns of the Philistines' temple for public display and ridicule, the Israelite warrior Samson avenged himself by bringing the building down around him. His previously shorn hair, the source of his extraordinary strength, had grown back, returning his power and allowing him to kill more Philistines in death than during his lifetime.

This complex, carefully orchestrated yet apparently chaotic, painting was intended to be seen from far below and may even have been a ceiling painting. The artist based the figure of Samson and the tumbling Philistines on ancient sculpture.

Provenance
possibly 17th century -

Corsini Family (Florence, Italy)

- 1992

Private Collection (Switzerland), sold through Mario Modestini (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1992.

Bibliography

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 112, ill.