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Valentin de Boulogne French

Not on view

The Jewish hero Samson contemplates both his victory over the thousand Philistines he killed with a jawbone of an ass and the Philistine woman he loved and lost. As always, Valentin refuses the more conventional image, in this case of Samson triumphant. The bees buzzing around the lion’s pelt (a reference to another exploit of Samson’s) make allusion to the coat of arms of the Barberini family, as does the bee clasp. The picture was painted for Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who must have enjoyed the fact that Valentin cast himself as the Old Testament hero.

Samson, Valentin de Boulogne (French, Coulommiers-en-Brie 1591–1632 Rome), Oil on canvas

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