The Blinded Samson

Lovis Corinth1912

Alte Nationalgalerie, National Museums in Berlin

Alte Nationalgalerie, National Museums in Berlin

The blinded figure rushes towards the viewer with a power that threatens to shatter the picture. Samson’s terror is expressed in his heroic nakedness, embittered blood-streaked face, and hands that can smash stone. Since the Middle Ages, artists’ imaginations had been set on fire by the notion of “God’s Chosen One” who towered mightily above other human beings: as a prefiguration of Christ, as a counterpart to Hercules, and as an image of the tragedy of the hero who pays for his untrammeled sensuality with his eyesight. The Blinded Samson is Corinth’s third and last treatment of this theme. As a reaction to the stroke which threatened the artist’s life in December 1911, it steps completely outside the traditional boundaries of its genre and finally shakes off the spell cast by the earlier example of Rembrandt. In this vision of the impending act of breaking free, which will destroy both Samson and his enemies, the painting becomes a drama of life and death.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: The Blinded Samson
  • Creator: Lovis Corinth
  • Date Created: 1912
  • Physical Dimensions: w105.0 x h130.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A III 668
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Andres Kilger
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist dates: Tapiau, East Prussia
  • Artist biography: Lovis Corinth was a German painter and printmaker. In 1880 he began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he was influenced by Courbet and the Barbizon School. In 1884 he spent three months in Antwerp where he served as an apprentice to Paul Eugène Gorge. Afterwards he travelled to Paris and studied under William-Adolphe Bouguereau. In 1891 he returned to Germany and joined the group of progressive artists known as the Berlin Secession, finally moving to the city in 1901, where he had a one-man exhibition at a gallery owned by Paul Cassirer. To view the artworks of his favourite Dutch masters he made a journey to the Netherlands in 1925 during which he died. His early works were naturalistic in approach. Later, his use of colour became more vivid, and he created several (self-) portraits and landscapes of extraordinary vitality and power. His subject matter included nudes and biblical scenes. His mature artworks are seen as a fusion of Impressionism and Expressionism. Apart from paintings, he also created etchings from 1891 on, executing his first lithograph in 1894. Under the National Socialists, 295 of his works were confiscated as ‘degenerate art’. Among his famous compositions is 'Self-portrait with Skeleton' (1896).
  • Artist Place of Death: Zandvoort, Netherlands
  • Artist Place of Birth: Tapiau, East Prussia
  • Artist Dates: 1858-07-21/1925-07-17


Translate with Google