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The Capture of Samson

A work made of oil on panel.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on panel.




Peter Paul Rubens
Flemish, 1577-1640

About this artwork

This panel, made as a sketch for a larger painting com- missioned by the mayor of Antwerp, Nicolas Rockox, demonstrates the influence of the ancient and modern art Peter Paul Rubens studied in Italy. The subject comes from a story in the Hebrew Bible in which the mighty Samson awakes to find that his lover, Delilah, has cut off his hair, the source of his strength. Rubens drew from ancient Roman sculpture for Samson’s contorted pose as he is captured by soldiers, while the strong contrast of light and dark recalls the work of 16th-century Italian painter Tintoretto—for example, Tarquin and Lucretia.


On View, Gallery 208


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Peter Paul Rubens


The Capture of Samson


Flanders (Artist's nationality:)

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.



Oil on panel


50.4 × 66.4 cm (19 3/4 × 26 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Robert A. Waller Memorial Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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