Samson and Delilah (c. 1495) by Andrea Mantegna

Samson and Delilah - Andrea Mantegna - 1495 - 1506

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Artwork Information

TitleSamson and Delilah
ArtistAndrea Mantegna
Date1495 - 1506
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions36.8 x 47 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance
Current LocationNational Gallery, London

About Samson and Delilah

The artwork entitled “Samson and Delilah” was created by the renowned artist Andrea Mantegna, who worked on this piece from 1495 to 1506. This religious painting depicting a well-known biblical scene is executed in oil on canvas and is a reflection of the High Renaissance art movement. The dimensions of the piece measure 36.8 x 47 cm. Presently, the artwork is held within the prestigious collection of the National Gallery in London.

The intricate composition of “Samson and Delilah” captures a pivotal moment from the biblical narrative. In the foreground, Samson is depicted reclining with his head resting in Delilah’s lap, seemingly asleep or unconscious. Delilah, appearing contemplative and poised, sits beside Samson, with her hands gently placed over his. The landscape around them is rendered in warm hues, suggesting a setting that may be at twilight or dawn. A mysterious and evocative text, not directly derivable from the biblical story, has been inscribed on the artwork, adding to the narrative content and possibly providing commentary on the scene or characters.

The background features rich foliage, which includes a prominent, peculiarly shaped tree, and stylized architectural elements, supporting the dramatic tension in the scene. The attention to detail and the textural elements Mantegna employs in the rendering of botany and drapery reveal his mastery and the characteristics of the High Renaissance. The overall composition, color palette, and the psychological complexity infused in the characters’ expressions collectively work to draw the viewer into this moment of betrayal and its profound consequences.

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