Samson and Delilah
Artist: Lucas Cranach the Elder.
(Oil on wood; date unknown -- Cranach fl. 1472-1553).
I read the story of Samson and Delilah in my Bible reading yesterday, so when this image popped up in Google Reader, I thought it seemed a bit timely.
I love that this is a heavily Germanic take on the story. (I tend to be a stickler for accuracy, but I can't fault a German painter for utilizing what he knew.) Delilah is dressed like an upper-class woman in medieval Germany (although in red, probably to suggest a harlot-like quality) and the Philistines in the background are covered in heavy armor. I'm not sure if the fruit hanging from the tree is intended to represent apples, thus indicating a connection with Adam and Eve and the woman leading the man astray. (While there's no biblical indication that the fruit of temptation was the apple, of course -- and likely it wasn't -- it is in general the fruit that symbolizes the Fall of Man.) I can't tell for certain, though. But I have to give Cranach credit for the serious layer of hair on Samson's legs. Now, that's attention to detail!
And for a little music, the "Bacchanale" from Samson et Dalila, by Camille Saint-Saëns (Sergio Alapont conducting).
Artwork and details derived from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.