Samson and Delilah

Lucas Cranach the Elder German

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 607

In this scene from the Hebrew Bible, the Israelite hero Samson sleeps in the lap of his treacherous Philistine lover Delilah, who shears a lock of hair from his head to drain his superhuman strength. A group of soldiers emerges from the forest, seeking revenge against the disempowered hero who had murdered a thousand Philistines with the ass’s jawbone lying at his feet. The panel’s small size suggests that it was displayed in a private context. In the courtly setting of Cranach’s time, the biblical story had an allegorical meaning, warning men of the pitfalls of love and the supposed wiles of women.

Samson and Delilah, Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, Kronach 1472–1553 Weimar), Oil on beech

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.