Samson Woodcut 1560

#1
From the Zwingli bible:




Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath; and, 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; but he told not his father or his mother what he had done. (Judges X1V 5-6)

Surely there's little doubt that the figure with his hands in the lion's mouth is Samson? Yet still the discussions swing back and forth. The strangeness of the figure's action in forcing open the lion's jaw must stem from the Old Testament quote above - after all, if you're going to rend something, you have to start somewhere, and the mouth end seems the logical choice. There are lots of illuminations of Samson and the lion in the Getty too, as well as a statue in Prague. Long ago I made a similar comment on AT and the thread died...

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Samson Woodcut 1560

#3
If true, I wonder when the image turned from Samson into a woman? How far back can we date the female virtue of Strength/Fortitude with the lion?

Did this happen with the other Virtues as well? I can certainly imagine Michael as a role model for Justice.

I love this image from Vieville, the top of the hat more defined than the Tarot de Marseille, and the huge foot on/near the lion's tail:

Image
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Samson Woodcut 1560

#4
Pen wrote: Surely there's little doubt that the figure with his hands in the lion's mouth is Samson?
Hello Pen,
that the allegory of Strength is based on Samson is confirmed by the fact that there is another common version (a woman with a column, in Charles VI for instance) which alludes to the death of Samson.

The beautiful H letter you posted made me think of an image that we discussed some time ago.
It seems possible to me that this h letter is derived from an allegory of Strength.

About Robert's question, Samson was replaced by a woman because the image ceased to be an example to become a "personification". Since "Fortitudo" and "Forza" are of feminine gender, their personifications usually are women. I don't know when the first personifications of strength with a lion appeared. It is interesting that the Visconti-Sforza deck features an example of Strength (Hercules) instead of a personification. It would be interesting to follow the changes of the allegories of virtues through time!

Marco

Re: Samson Woodcut 1560

#5
Robert, the Vieville figure is quite ambiguous - it could be either male or female, unless of course the clothes offer a more definite identification. And I wonder if a similar hat could be found in a painting - I may go and look later.

Marco - that other thread is fascinating - wonderful to find parallels to the woodcut H. It would seem that the figure could possibly actually be Fortitude - I'd never have suspected. As for the fortress/Fortezza pun, that certainly feels likely to me - how I love these revelatory moments!

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Samson Woodcut 1560

#6
marco wrote:
that the allegory of Strength is based on Samson is confirmed by the fact that there is another common version (a woman with a column, in Charles VI for instance) which alludes to the death of Samson.
Marco, how can you be sure that the broken column in the Charles V1 alludes to the death of Samson? Enlightenment please!

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Samson Woodcut 1560

#7
Pen wrote: Marco, how can you be sure that the broken column in the Charles V1 alludes to the death of Samson? Enlightenment please!
Hello Pen,
I am never sure of anything :)
In my previous post I forgot to qualify my opinion with "I think that" (I was in a hurry, sorry).

Samson is the only "column breaker" that comes to my mind, and I would say that, as the column seems to confirm that the lion allegory refers to Samson, the vice-versa is also true.

Lion+Column=Samson

Can you think of an alternative explanation for the broken column?

The Fortezza pun is nice indeed :) But I have no idea on the origin of the dragon (unless maybe St.Martha and the Tarasque?).

Ciao
Marco

Re: Samson Woodcut 1560

#8
Thanks marco ( and no need to be sorry!). I can't think of another column breaker either, but the link to the woman with a single column doesn't seem quite strong enough for me - Samson took hold of the two pillars in the centre of the house - one in each hand, and the woman on the Charles V1 card seems to be trying to hold the column together rather than breaking it. You could well be right though - what's needed is an illustration with some text. (I'll keep looking!)

Material below is probably already familiar to everyone here, but as it's relevant(ish) and interesting...

This is from Ripa 1603, although I believe it was first published in 1593 (not illustrated).

Constancy

The personification of Constancy is a young woman in classical robes, wearing a helmet and holding a sword in one hand as she embraces a column. she holds the other hand over a flaming brazier, ready to let it burn.
...
The column she embraces is an old symbol for firmness and stability.


The link below is to an earlier illustration of Constancy in Ripa's Iconologia:

http://emblem.libraries.psu.edu/Ripa/Im ... pa019b.htm

The engraving below is from Hertel's 1758/60 edition, and probably isn't significant as Ripa doesn't mention that the column is broken, but it's an interesting image. Constancy and Fortitude aren't too different in that they share stabilty.





Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Samson Woodcut 1560

#9
It seems that a column doesn't have to be broken to indicate Samson. His costume reminds me of the lady on the Mantegna card too.

I know most of you have seen all these prints before, but having just looked at the Taschen magician posted by Enrique, perhaps it might be interesting and useful to have 22 named and separate threads where we can post relevant images for reference.

Pen

He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Samson Woodcut 1560

#10
Pen wrote: I know most of you have seen all these prints before, but having just looked at the Taschen magician posted by Enrique, perhaps it might be interesting and useful to have 22 named and separate threads where we can post relevant images for reference.
Pen
Sounds like a good idea with some system.
Huck
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