after Rubens: the strange story of the Samson and Delilah
 
 

Choose a comparison set (more to be added during Nov) from the drop-down menu below, and click on the thumbnails to view comparisons and our commentary below.

Comparisons Tool / Samson's foot
 
These are the original comparisons displayed in the "Style and Handling" section of the Flash Movie.

 
  Click on a new detail to compare, and read commentary below:
Head of old woman Detail of head of old woman Detail of carpet Carpet Samson's head Philistine barber's head Old woman's hand Statue of Venus and Cupid
Statue of Venus and Cupid Statue of Cupid Statue of Cupid Samson's foot Samson's foot
 

Samson's foot

Men's feet
Samson's foot from the Samson and Delilah Men's feet from the Raising of the Cross (1610-11), Antwerp Cathedral, Antwerp

Compare the highlight on the achilles tendon and calf of Samson at left, with the highlight on the tendon and calf of the foot at the upper left of the detail on the right. In the latter, we see the sophisticated depiction of surface, effected by rigorous control of colour, tone and application of paint. The result is that we feel we could encircle this leg with our fingers; we can feel the contour, the texture of the skin, even sense the bone within. In short, it looks like solid matter in space. Samson's foot, however, with its highlights floating away from the form, its foggy, vague transitions of tone and colour, gives a feeling of nothing more than wet oil paint on board.

And all of this is to say nothing of the missing toes. On the right, see how Rubens habitually gloried in such details, incorporating them into his vibrant schemes of pictorial design observe how even the single little toe of the foot with the raised heel has been invested with emphatic structural force, its position and alignment absolutely integral to the tumultuous design devised by the master for this figure.

Head of old woman Detail of head of old woman Detail of carpet Carpet Samson's head Philistine barber's head Old woman's hand Statue of Venus and Cupid
Statue of Venus and Cupid Statue of Cupid Statue of Cupid Samson's foot Samson's foot