Samson was a biblical hero who featured in countless Baroque paintings. Peter Paul Rubens famously produced The Capture of Samson, whilst Rembrandt also gave us Samson Threatening his Father-in-Law and the Marriage of Samson. The painting captured here is perhaps his most gruesome work and displays effects which rival that of his Flemish rival, Rubens.
The oil on canvas measures 236 x 302 cm but is believed to have originally been larger, before being cropped around the edges. It is the dramatic use of light which reminds us of Caravaggio and also helps to create the powerful atmosphere which spreads right across the canvas.
Once completed, Rembrandt was to gift this artwork to the House of Orange, an organisation which had commissioned several pieces from the Dutch master already.
This scene depicts the frightening attack on Samson by Philistines at the very end of the entire story. Three soldiers wrestle with him, one taking the opportunity to pierce his eye with a sword. Samson's pain is exceptional and well portrayed by the work of the artist who is not afraid to take this work into more a graphical route than he would normally do.
This painting is considered one of the most significant in the collection of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt. You will also find the likes of Jan van Eyck, Johannes Vermeer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Sandro Botticelli and Hieronymus Bosch here.