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 / Head of old woman
 
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
 

Head of old woman

Head of old woman
Head of old woman from the Samson and Delilah Head of old woman from the Raising of the Cross (1610-11), Antwerp Cathedral, Antwerp

When compared to the head at right, the head of the old woman from Samson and Delilah appears alarmingly more akin to a piece of hack illustration than to an old master at the height of his powers. Look at the brushwork, and compare the harmony both of convincing form and expressive pictorial design achieved by the brush at right, with the work of the brush at left, which achieves nothing more than a basic blocking-out of the head.

On the right, there is an intensity of observation not seen in the left, where broken irregular brushmarks and tonal confusion provide only a rudimentary approximation of form. In tonal terms, the head at right exhibits a sophisticated, highly disciplined progression of light to dark, while at left highlights pop out all over.

On the right, the differing textures of flesh and cloth have been achieved, while at left, there is only one texture, neither flesh nor cloth but the waxy, plastic effect of superficially applied paint on board. Let’s take an even closer look…

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