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Samson and the Lion

A work made of marble.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of marble.




Cristoforo Stati
Italian, c. 1556-1619

About this artwork

Samson’s encounter with a lion was one of the legendary Israelite hero’s earliest feats. Here, Cristoforo Stati emphasized Samson’s bulging muscles as he effortlessly tears apart the lion’s jaw. Stati studied in Florence under Flemish-born artist Jean de Boulogne, called Giambologna. In 1601 Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Archduke of Tuscany, sent a sculpture of Samson by Giambologna as a diplomatic gift to the Duke of Lerma, the prime minister of Spain. After that work traveled from Florence to Lerma’s palace in Valladolid, the duke sought another scene to pair with it and commissioned Giambologna’s follower, Stati. In the ensuing years, the Spanish capital moved from Valladolid back to Madrid, where the sculpture seen here was installed. Stati created the twisting figures to complement the work of his mentor, who favored compositions meant to be viewed from all sides.


On View, Gallery 200


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Cristoforo Stati


Samson and the Lion


Italy (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.





210 × 112 × 84 cm (82 11/16 × 44 1/8 × 33 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Chester D. Tripp Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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