(b. 1708, Lucca, d. 1787, Roma)
Samson and Delilah1766
Oil on canvas, 209 x 144 cm
Batoni painted relatively few Old Testament subjects during his career - less than a dozen over a fifty year stretch. One of these, Samson and Delilah exemplifies Batoni's style in the third quarter of the century as he gradually progressed toward the pictorial qualities of his last years. The deliberate prettiness, opulent finish and brilliant colour of the early history paintings have yielded to a manner of expression in which the forms are more faintly coloured, the opulence and sumptuousness are restrained, and the handling is drier and less rich. The composition is typical of the later work, simpler and narrower in depth and dominated by verticality, and the figures are considerably elongated.