(b. 1591, Cento, d. 1666, Bologna)

Samson Captured by the Philistines

Oil on canvas, 191 x 237 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This painting was commissioned by Cardinal Giacomo Serra, the papal legate to Ferrara. As shown here, Guercino's early masterpiece demonstrates far better than most other paintings that it is possible to achieve dramatically theatrical effects without abandoning real naturalism.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 12 minutes):
George Frideric Handel: Samson, Part 1 Sinfonia, recitative and chorus