« הקודםהמשך »
DELILAH DELIVERING SAMSON TO THE
SAMSON was born about the year 1155, B. C. Being destined by the Almighty to avenge the death of the Israelites, he was endowed with prodigious strength. This he displayed, at the age of eighteen, against a lion, which, , he attacked without arms, and tore to pieces. A daughter of Themmata, whom he married, being in intelligence with his enemies, he was compelled to forsake her. This female, marrying, afterwards, a young Philistine, involved her country in a war which furnished Samson with an opportunity of displaying his valour. He destroyed the crops of the enemy, and dispersed its armies; but, in the end, the Philistines constrained the tribe of Judah to deliver him up. Samson suffered himself to be bound and conducted to their camp, where, breaking his bands, he seized upon the jaw-bone of an ass, and killed 1,000 warriors with that weapon. Some time after, they were desirous of surprizing him in Gaza, by shutting the city gates to prevent his escape; when, placing them upon his shoulders, he carried them upon the summit of a mountain, near to Hebron. During twenty years this hero was one of the judges of the tribe of Judah. At length he conceived a fatal passion for a Philistine courtezan, called Delilah, who, being corrupted by presents, offered to her by the princes of her nation, was desirous of knowing from him in what con
SAMSON DELIVERED TO THE PHILISTINES.
sisted his supernatural strength. After deceiving her several times, he was induced to entrust her with the secret, that if he lost his hair his power would be destroyed. She took advantage of this confession, and one day, as he slept upon her lap, she called in the Philistine soldiers who were in her interest, one of whom cut off the locks of Samson, who falling, in consequence, an easy prey into their hands, they put out his eye-sight and compelled him to work in a mill. On his strength returning with his hair, he obtained a most signal revenge of his enemies. Being taken, on a solemn festival, into the temple of Dagon, where the Philistine lords were assembled, he shook the pillars of the edifice, and perished, with 3000 of his persecutors, by its fall.
Alexander Veronese has made choice of the moment in which Samson is asleep upon the lap of Delilah. The Philistine who shears his locks has an expression of the greatest truth; it is visible that he trembles while touching the surprizing man ; the soldiers betray the like fear. What is most offensive to good taste in this composition, is the introduction of the two children, one of whom bears the sword of Samson; the other, the celebrated bone. But the Venetian painters did not, at all times, respect propriety, of which this work presents another proof in the Italian costume given by Veronese to Delilah, and to the Philistines.
This picture, of which the figures are of the natural size, is deserving of little praise with respect to its execution; the drawing is somewhat outré, and the colouring heavy and unnatural. A great freedom of pencil is all, in this production, that recalls to the mind the talents of Alexander Veronese.
CHRIST CARRIED TO THE TOMB.
Joseph of Arimathea has caused the body of Jesus Christ to be taken from the cross, upon which he had just expired, and to be conveyed to the tomb destined to receive it. Some faithful disciples and the holy women have followed the mournful ceremony. The virgin, previous to her departure from the mortal remains of her son, is desirous that the body should rest upon her knees; she lays hold of one hand, and directs her eyes towards Heaven, in which the utmost grief is visible. One of the holy females supports in her arms the disconsolate mother, who is on the point of fainting. Mary Magdalen, clothed in rich apparel, kisses the feet of our Saviour. At a distance, are observable the Mount Calvary and the city of Jerusalem; and, in the front of the picture, the crown of thorns, covered with blood. This composition is full of vigour and sentiment: all the expressions are correct and interesting--that of the virgin is sublime. The figure of Jesus Christ is, however, thin; and the sky, and the back. ground, appear to be merely sketched.
The light pencil and the fine colouring of Paul Veronese, are visible in all the figures. The execution is, perhaps, not sufficiently laboured; but the species of negligence that is remarkable, operates to its advantage in