Aug 21, 2015
Apr 11, 2006
Aug 21, 2015
Oct 21, 2013
Aug 21, 2015



c. 1630

Valentin de Boulogne

(French, 1594-1632)

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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