Arts & Culture

Samson and the Philistines

Carl Bloch1863

Statens Museum for Kunst
Statens Museum for Kunst

With Samson and the Philistines, painted in Rome in 1863, Bloch entered the Danish art scene in earnest.

With his virtuoso technique and narrative devices such as the way we as spectators are drawn into the scene, and the sheer concentrated action of the piece he brought Danish art on a par with contemporary European history painting.

The theatrical effects

Art history has reproached Bloch for his pronounced use of theatrical effects. Seen in a wider perspective, however, it is remarkable how his aggressive involvement of spectators and setpiece authenticity points ahead towards the aestetics of film where such effects are basic elements.

Just think of the Hollywood studios and D.W. Griffith’s (1875-1948) lavish historical extravaganzas, the theatrical facial expressions and gestures, and the use of close-ups to remove the filters between spectators and objects.

Denmark's greatest painter

Samson was followed by several similar pictures, which brought Bloch great recognition, carving him a reputation among his contemporaries as Denmark’s greatest painter. Bloch’s principal work is the series of 23 paintings with scenes from the New Testament that the brewer J.C. Jacobsen (1811-1887) of Carlsberg fame commissioned in 1865 as decorations for King Christian 4.’s (1577-1648) prayer seat in Frederiksborg Chapel.

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Details

  • Title: Samson and the Philistines
  • Creator: Carl Bloch
  • Date Created: 1863
  • Værktekst: Med Samson hos filistrene, malet i Rom 1863, trådte Bloch for alvor ind på den danske kunstscene. Med sin virtuose teknik og fortællende greb som motivafskæring, beskuerinddragelse og handlingskoncentration bragte han dansk kunst på omgangshøjde med de samtidige europæiske historiemaleri. De teatralske effekter Kunsthistorien har bebrejdet Bloch den udprægede brug af teatralske effekter. Men set i et videre perspektiv er det påfaldende, hvordan han med den aggressive beskuerinddragelse og kulisseautenticiteten peger frem mod filmæstetikken, hvor netop arbejdet med realitetseffekter er et grundliggende element. Tænk bare på Hollywood-studierne og D.W. Griffiths (1875-1948) historiske udstyrsstykker, stumfilmenes teatralske mimik og gestik og brugen af closeup for at fjerne de distancerende filtre mellem beskuer og objekt. Mytologisk, religiøst og historisk indhold Efter Samson fulgte flere tilsvarende billeder med mytologisk, religiøst og historisk indhold. Værker, som bragte Bloch stor anerkendelse og et ry i samtiden som Danmarks største maler. Blochs hovedværk er de 23 malerier med motiver fra Ny Testamente, som brygger J.C. Jacobsen (1811-1887) bestilte i 1865 til udsmykning af Christian 4.s (1577-1648) bedestol i Frederiksborg Slotskirke.
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Køb 1863
  • Provenance: Acquired 1863
  • Physical Dimensions: w184 x h245.5 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=2683
  • Dansk Titel: Samson hos filistrene
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • External Link: Statens Museum for Kunst
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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