Samson and Delilah

c. 1616
(Dutch, 1590–1656)
Framed: 158.4 x 122.5 x 11.8 cm (62 3/8 x 48 1/4 x 4 5/8 in.); Case: 139.7 x 177.8 x 28 cm (55 x 70 x 11 in.); Unframed: 129 x 94 cm (50 13/16 x 37 in.)
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

Flickering candlelight and a nocturnal setting enhance the furtive nature of Delilah's actions.

Description

In retaliation for Samson’s single-handed decimation of their army, the Philistines bribed his lover Delilah to discover the source of his strength: his hair, uncut since birth. Samson’s hair was shorn as he lay sleeping in Delilah’s lap, draining his strength and allowing the Philistines to capture him. Honthorst intensified the inherent drama of the scene by limiting his depiction to just three closely packed figures, starkly illuminated by a single candle. The old woman’s silencing gesture involves the viewer in the action, making us complicit in Delilah’s deceit.
Samson and Delilah

Samson and Delilah

c. 1616

Gerrit van Honthorst

(Dutch, 1590–1656)
Netherlands

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.