John Francis Rigaud, R.A. 1742 - 1810
Samson and Delilah
Photo: R.A.
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Samson and Delilah, ca. 1784
Oil on canvas, 1303 X 1562 X 37 mm
Diploma Work given by John Francis Rigaud, R.A., accepted 1784
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John Francis Rigaud was born and trained in Turin. He came to London in 1771 where he quickly found success, being elected as Associate of the Royal Academy the following year. The source for Samson and Delilah is Judges, chapter 15, verse 14, which describes how Delilah, encouraged by the Philistines, had bound Samson with ropes that he had easily broken. Rigaud chose to give this substantial history painting to the Academy in part at least to advertise his ease and skill with this kind of subject. The pose he has adopted for the figure of Samson is based on Michelangelo’s Haman in the Sistine Chapel, thus emphasizing his knowledge of Old Master precedents. The rich flesh tones of this painting likewise draw attention to his familiarity with the work of Rubens.

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