Samson Captured by the Philistines

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

According to the Bible, Samson, whose strength came from his hair, had his locks cut by his duplicitous lover, Delilah. This made him vulnerable to the Philistines, who bound and blinded him. The focus of Guercino’s dramatic and marvelously staged composition—a landmark in the artist’s career—is the vigorously modeled back of Samson, struggling to free himself. The painting’s theatricality, produced through the human body at extremes and a tight, complex composition, is quintessentially Baroque. It was one of several commissions from Cardinal Giacomo Serra, who also collected paintings by Rubens.

#5089. Samson Captured by the Philistines



  1. 5089. Samson Captured by the Philistines
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Samson Captured by the Philistines, Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Italian, Cento 1591–1666 Bologna), Oil on canvas

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