'Samson', Solomon J Solomon, painted about 1887
Artist: Solomon J Solomon (1860-1927)
Oil on canvas
244 x 366cm
Accession Number: WAG 3131
Solomon studied in the Royal Academy School and later on in the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris. During the First World War Solomon, who believed in the artist's social role worked together with French and British artists to produce camouflage nettings and screens. 'Samson' was painted when Solomon was 27 years old.
The theme may have attracted Solomon because of his Jewish origin. However, Solomon departed from the Bible story when he depicted Samson been bound by the Philistines of Gaza in the presence of Delilah. The model for Samson was the artist's brother. Delilah's body was modelled from an Italian woman while the face was that of a young Indian woman.
The composition demonstrates Solomon's skill in depicting human anatomy while the different postures and gestures of the figures accentuate the drama of the scene. The painting was bought by the Liverpool ship owner James Harrison, who in 1887 presented it to the Walker Art Gallery to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria.