Gerrit van Honthorst / Samson and Delilah / c. 1621Gerrit van Honthorst
Samson and Delilah
c. 1621

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Creator Name: Honthorst, Gerrit van
Creator Nationality: European; Dutch
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1590 - 1656
Gender: M
Creator Name-CRT: Gerrit van Honthorst
Title: Samson and Delilah
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1616
Creation End Date: 1626
Creation Date: c. 1621
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on canvas
Dimensions: Unframed: 129cm x 94cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1968.23
Credit Line: Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund
Provenance: (Possibly) March├ęse Tommaso Raggi, Genoa and Rome (1595/6-1676), and descendants; Anonymous collection, RomeHazlitt Gallery, London.
Context: As recounted in the Old Testament (Judges 16:4-20) the Philistines bribed Samson's lover, Delilah, to persuade him to reveal the source of his great strength. Three times he gave her false answers, but finally she succeeded in extracting the truth: that his strength lay in his hair, which had not been cut since birth. Delilah lulled Samson to sleep and then signaled to a waiting Philistine. The man quietly shaved Samson's locks and he awoke to find himself helpless.In Honthorst's depiction, Samson sleeps with his head on a table as Delilah herself cuts his hair. Her face is calm, and she goes about her task with quiet concentration. At the left, a watchful old woman holds a candle and raises a finger to her lips, cautioning silence.The picture was painted in Rome, where Honthorst absorbed the style of Caravaggio (1571-1610) and thus made light his major vehicle for artistic expression. In this painting the candle spreads a warm and atmospheric glow that unifies the com-position. The artist also liked colorful accessories and details. Here he took great care in rendering the pearl-embroidered border of Delilah's dress and her sumptuous turban.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1968.23
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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