Oil on canvas
Framed: 157 x 125 x 7 cm (61 13/16 x 49 3/16 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 135.6 x 102.8 cm (53 3/8 x 40 1/2 in.)
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1972.50
The Old Testament hero Samson rests his head on his hand in a pensive, even melancholic pose. Objects on the table recall two of his heroic deeds: he killed a lion with his bare hands, and liberated the Israelites by slaughtering a thousand Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone. Samson’s cuirass, or breastplate, is joined at the shoulder by a clasp in the form of a bee—the emblem of the Barberini family, who commissioned the painting. The figure of Samson may be a self-portrait of the artist.
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