Samson and Delilah
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (called il Guercino), Italian, 1591 - 1666
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The painting for which this work is a preliminary sketch depicts Samson, an Old Testament Israelite judge famous for his great strength, unwisely confiding to his mistress Delilah that his force resides in his hair, which would allow her to cut the potent locks while he slept and betray him to the Philistines. The canvas is recorded as paid for on 31 March 1646 in Guercino's account book.