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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

Query builder

Battle of Samson Against the Philistines

Accession Number

Battle of Samson Against the Philistines

Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1839

Medium & Support
black chalk and watercolor heightened with white on tan wove paper, mounted on

87 13/16 in. x 125 3/16 in. ( 223 cm x 318 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Sawyer through the Friends of the Museum of Art

Subject matter
Derived from the Old Testament story (Book of Judges) of Samson single-handedly (albeit with the help of God) defeating the Philistines in battle, Decamps depicts a moment of that battle. Decamps visited Italy in 1835 and proceeded to paint many biblical scenes upon his return to France. Thanks to travels in Asia Minor and North Africa in 1828, he was able to set these religious works in realistic Near Eastern settings. Decamps was one of three painters given a retrospective in the Universal Exposition of 1855 in Paris, along with Ingres and Delacroix.

Physical Description
This drawing is done in black chalk with white color highlights against a tan background. It shows an expansive landscape with craggy mountains and a wide sky with swirling cloud formations. In the center foreground area there is a an army of men facing a figure with long dark hair. This man has his arms raised preparing to throw an object at the group. On the right, there is another group of men looking on from behind a tree.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
preparatory drawing

Collection Area

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3 Related Resources

Death and Dying
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Combat, Battle, Warfare
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display