Samson Slaying the Lion

Samson Slaying the Lion

Samson Slaying the Lion

Samson Slaying the Lion, probably Dresden, 1720-1730. Baroque pearls, gold, enamel, diamonds, emeralds, jasper, rock crystal. 10.7 x 8.5 x 7.1 cm. VI 107. Green Vault. © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden


In the Old Testament it is described how the young Samson was attacked on the way to courting of a lion: "And when they came to the vineyards of Timnath, behold, a young lion roared against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon. him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand. " The Israelite Samson became a symbol for god inspired, superhuman strength through these and other actions. In contrast to the ancient hero Heracles, who shares with the motif of the lion Samson Vanquisher and by his actions eventually ascends to Olympus, but the story of Samson also served as a warning to the vulnerability of the man through the lists of women. The Perlfigur was purchased on Easter fair of the year 1730 in Leipzig for the Green Vault. The master of this late Perlpretiose remained unnamed. He described Samson's victory over the king of beasts in a form that could be interpreted as a fight of Heracles with the Nemean lion. The group of figures standing on an elongated eight passigen plate of gray-brown jasper. Occupied base on the emerald can be found on the sides the cardinal Christian virtues and a woman riding that probably represents the perishable Dalia. The narrow sides show animal combat scenes. The group of figures is quite likely from the same master as the Galanteriewarenhändler (VI, 89) and the Swiss Guard (VI 112). With the latter, it combines both the somewhat schematic figure proportions as well as the physiognomy of the head with flowing hair and goatee. This is typical of this master in the expressive emphasis to the eyes sunken small diamonds particularly clear. Despite the ornate design of Perlfiguren and jeweled base this masterpiece of the early 30s lack the artistic empathy for the specific drama of the event.

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