As a somewhat casual, unplanned annex to my last post I feel like showing (and telling a bit about) this other oil by Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch: “Samson and The Philistines” (1863).
It seems to me a stunning painting (especially with regard to the figure of the protagonist).
Everybody knows about the biblical Samson, and so I won’t recall much here (look at the end of the post) beyond one obvious, but necessary thing: he was extremely strong. Yes, and that man illustrated by Bloch looks strong indeed, without any easy resource to inhuman measures and hypertrophied muscles. He is credible; he is very handsome too; he is… well, hunky to my eyes and taste.
(As I have confessed one personal wish in my previous post, regarding Epiphany and the Magi, I feel now the frankness to add a second material present that I would be extremely glad to receive some day –perhaps next year’s Twelfth Night, or whenever…: a chance to meet (and befriend) a man with this monumental body, like a bear or a bull, with these powerful hands and feet and thighs… and sexy bottom 🙂 )
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark
Samson (Hebrew: שִׁמְשׁוֹן, meaning “man of the sun”) was the last of the judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible (chapters 13 to 16).
This old account says that Samson was given immense strength which aided him against his enemies and allowed him to perform superhuman feats. However, if Samson’s long hair was cut, then his vows would be violated, and he would lose most of his strength. Fatally, one day, Samson was betrayed by his lover Delilah, who ordered a servant to cut his hair while he was sleeping and turned him over to his Philistine enemies, who gouged out his eyes and forced him to grind grain in a mill at Gaza.
This forced work in a treadmill, while being mockingly observed by some Philistines, is the scene that Carl Bloch chose to represent in his oil.