Peter Paul Rubens 1577 – 1640
Samson and Delilah
oil on panel (185 × 205 cm) — 1609-1610
19. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.
Samson has fallen asleep in the lap of his beloved Delilah. Not knowing that she works for his enemy, the Philistines, he told her the secret of his enormous strength: his uncut hair. When he sleeps, the Philistines quickly cut his hair.
The statue in the background shows Venus and Cupid, well-known symbols of love. The crossed hands of the Philistine with the scissors stand for deceit.
Rubens made this painting for Nicolaas Rockox, an alderman in Antwerp. It was acquired by the National Gallery in 1980. There is a second version, in the Cincinnati Art Museum.