after Rubens: the strange story of the Samson and Delilah
 
 
Discussion Board (most recent first)

Part of what makes the Samson and Delilah so interesting as a work of art is the extreme disparity in the response it evokes from people - both those who have seen it perhaps just once, as well as scholars who may have studied it for half a lifetime.

Below you will find comments both for and against the attribution, as well as more general observations that visitors to the site have sent in. Please recommend the comments you find most interesting and let us know how you see it too.

You are viewing comments chronologically with the most recent first; you can also order them by the number of reader recommendations they have recieved.

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Submitted: 12 February 2006, 10:45:34 AM
  Well though I am not a learned student of art I enjoy a GOOD and authentic painting. Through your evidence I believe that the national gallery should go out and find the REAL "Samson and Delilah ."

The brushstrokes as you stated were totally inconsistent with Rubens style as well as the detail of his former works.

So all and all it looks to me that the painting should be returned to whomever the National Gallery bought it and ask for their monies returned without delay. In other words, given your evidence, the painting taking up that wall space should be used as a place mat for swine food.

Bart Brewer

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Submitted: 10 February 2006, 9:36:32 PM
  what seems to be an artistic claim against imitative art here, is more nearly a political argument about sincerity.

Oleg Jankovsky, writer, moskow

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Submitted: 04 February 2006, 11:43:38 AM
  The points that are shown and especially the comparisons of details make me think that it is a copy: it definitely doesn't look like Rubens masterly painting.

Alexandra Christou, artist , Athens, Greece

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Submitted: 30 January 2006, 9:25:08 AM
  Although the anatomy looks like that of Rubens, the lighting does not. The colors in the painting don't seem quite right to me as well.

Morris Howard, Artist, Memphis, USA

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Submitted: 22 January 2006, 8:01:34 PM
  The content as well as the design of your site , are to be applauded.

The only conclusion which any rational person can arrive at , after negotiating it - is that the “ Samson & Delilah “ at present with the National Gallery London , has very serious doubts attached to it.

In 1984 , Dr Christopher Wright addressed a similar problem which related to the “ great “ Georges De La Tour “ - Masterpiece - ‘ The Cheat ‘ which at that time ,held an elevated position at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

After the publication of his book “ The Art Of the Forger “ - the ridicule & scorn which had been heaped upon Dr . Wright by the Art establishment , quickly ceased and the ‘ De La Tour ‘’ masterpiece was quietly removed to the Met’s basement .

As always in such cases , large egos & inflated reputations are at stake - Hence the reluctance to face the truth.

However in saying this , we should not be blinded to the wonderful work carried out by the Director ,Trustes and Staff at the National Gallery London on an ongoing basis.

In the greater scheme of things - this misattribution to Rubens , is but a small pimple on a comparatively unblemished complexion.

Patrick Brown, Dealer, Dublin , Ireland

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Submitted: 20 January 2006, 10:52:00 PM
  The way I look at this work of art and see this massive painting supposedly by Rubens,.... that the copying artist seems to me he could not paint hands or the feet in the detail that Rubens had or would, or should I say may have had difficulty in these parts of the anatomy of the body or even possibly did not care about the inconsequential. This is definitely a copy,... but by whom?

I myself like it better than the etching or the depiction of it in the other painting by the artist's or eyewitnesses you speak of. Sure,... anybody with eyes and good feelings for art can tell you that this painting is not by Rubens, but from quite possibly a greater hand of a different artist. I'm not running Rubens down for his works of art by saying this,.. I'm only saying Rubens paid more attention to detail, but could not use light and shadow along with the chiaroscuro which is quite dominant in this painting.

I'm not saying that the copyist could have been Rembrandt, but that possibility cannot be over looked. Now,.. if this happened to be true, what exactly would you think it's value would be,.... not in dollar value, but as a copy by an other artist who appreciated Rubens popularity and works of art. Naturally being this close to Rubens' works it would not contain any signature as to the rightful artist,... only painted for a means of selling popular art of the times and for means of support,... and if by this artist I speak of,...more than likely would have been painted after his bankruptcy and exile out of Amsterdam.

Kind regards, Bob Miller ---vanrijngo

Bob Miller, art researcher & collector, Nampa, Idaho, USA

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Submitted: 20 January 2006, 2:03:17 PM
  I think sum1 wasted a few million bucks for a copy...

Rainer Richter, Student, Cologne, Germany

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Submitted: 18 January 2006, 1:24:46 PM
  my first imprestion when looking at the painting was too much light and the colour purple being an eye sore in such a painting by a master who always seemed to use less viabrant colours . The style in my opinion is totally contrary to a true Rubens

lilly attard, retired rest. mang, rabat, malta

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Submitted: 09 January 2006, 7:38:56 PM
  Samson won great battles against the people known as the Philistines several times throughout history. Once upon a time Samson whispered, “If you cut off of my toe, I shall be as weak as any other man." After that, he shook himself to fight one more time the Philistines, but his toe was gone. His strength was gone.

Samson was overcome.

Yet one day, Samson felt the breeze blowing through his hair, which had begun to grow again, and he realized that his incredible strength was returning. Samson stretched his mighty arms around the two pillars of the temple of the Philistines and pulled with all of his great strength, which had returned. The temple crashed around him. Samson died in the destruction along with 3,000 Philistines.

Julia Perez - Torres, film producer, Oacaha, Mexico

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Submitted: 07 January 2006, 5:49:41 AM
  Very good job of depicting a copy. There can be no question that this painting is not an original Rubens. Simply put, it is a fraud on the public and a disgrace to the art community. It does not take a genius to see that this is a good copy. Even my five year old grandson can see the difference.

Mervin Davis, art collector, Malibu, usa

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