Samson freeing himself after Delilah had tied him down by his hair

Bernardino Mei

(Siena, 1612 - Roma, 1676)
206 x 185 cm (81.1 x 72.8 in.) Siena - 1657

A monumental work - by the image depicted but also by its size - painted by a rare Caravaggesque artist.

An rare depiction of Samson and Delilah, preceding the cutting of the hair, in which the hero lies to Delilah and tells her that he will loose his powers if one tied his hair to the ground with a nail. He wakes up, enraged, to find out that she has betrayed him.

Cupid flies out of the picture with the attitude of a child hiding out of shame – for having given birth to Samson’s love for Delilah, and for having made it grow. Samson's enemies escape in the background and Samson himself screams in rage holding in his hand his weapon - the jawbone of an ass.

Only very few paintings of Bernardino Mei feature today's American museums collections as most are thought to still be hidden away in Sienese private collections. Only the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Cincinnati Art Museum exhibit works by this rare artist, respectively Christ Cleansing the Temple and Alexander the Great and the Fates.

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Galerie G. Sarti

"Old Master Paintings"

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