‘Samson’ was created in c.1858 by Frederic Leighton in Academicism style. In the Hebrew Bible, Samson (/ˈsæmsən/; Hebrew: שִׁמְשׁוֹן, Šīmšōn, "man of the sun") was the last of the judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Book of Judges (chapters 13 to 16) and one of the last leaders who "judged" Israel before the institution of the monarchy. He is sometimes considered as an Israelite version of the popular Near Eastern folk hero also embodied by the Sumerian Enkidu and the Greek Heracles.
The biblical account states that Samson was a Nazirite, and that he was given immense strength to aid him against his enemies and allow him to perform superhuman feats, including slaying a lion with his bare hands and massacring an entire army of Philistines using only the jawbone of a donkey. However, if Samson's long hair were cut, then his Nazirite vow would be violated and he would lose his strength.
Samson is betrayed by his lover Delilah, who, sent by the Philistines officials to entice him, orders a servant to cut his hair while he is sleeping and turns him over to his Philistine enemies, who gouge out his eyes and force him to grind grain in a mill at Gaza. While there, his hair begins to grow again. When the Philistines take Samson into their temple of Dagon, Samson asks to rest against one of the support pillars. After being granted permission, he prays to God and miraculously recovers his strength, allowing him to bring down the columns, collapsing the temple and killing himself as well as all of the Philistines. In some Jewish traditions, Samson is believed to have been buried in Zorah in Israel overlooking the Sorek valley.
Samson has been the subject of both rabbinic and Christian commentary, with some Christians viewing him as a type of Jesus, based on similarities between their lives. Notable depictions of Samson include John Milton's closet drama Samson Agonistes and Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 Hollywood film Samson and Delilah. Samson also plays a major role in Western art and traditions.
Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton, PRA (3 December 1830 – 25 January 1896), known as Sir Frederic Leighton between 1878 and 1896, was an English painter and sculptor. His works depicted historical, biblical, and classical subject matter. Leighton was bearer of the shortest-lived peerage in history; after only one day his hereditary peerage became extinct upon his death.
Leighton was born in Scarborough to Augusta Susan and Dr. Frederic Septimus Leighton. He had two sisters including Alexandra who was Robert Browning's biographer. He was educated at University College School, London. He then received his artistic training on the European continent, first from Eduard von Steinle and then from Giovanni Costa. At age 17, in the summer of 1847, he met the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in Frankfurt and painted his portrait, in graphite and gouache on paper—the only known full-length study of Schopenhauer done from life. When he was 24 he was in Florence; he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, and painted the procession of the Cimabue Madonna through the Borgo Allegri. From 1855 to 1859 he lived in Paris, where he met Ingres, Delacroix, Corot and Millet.
In 1860, he moved to London, where he associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. He designed Elizabeth Barrett Browning's tomb for Robert Browning in the English Cemetery, Florence in 1861. In 1864 he became an associate of the Royal Academy and in 1878 he became its President (1878–96). His 1877 sculpture, Athlete Wrestling with a Python, was considered at its time to inaugurate a renaissance in contemporary British sculpture, referred to as the New Sculpture. American art critic Earl Shinn claimed at the time that "Except Leighton, there is scarce any one capable of putting up a correct frescoed figure in the archway of the Kensington Museum." His paintings represented Britain at the great 1900 Paris Exhibition.
Leighton was knighted at Windsor in 1878, and was created a baronet, of Holland Park Road in the Parish of St Mary Abbots, Kensington, in the County of Middlesex, eight years later. He was the first painter to be given a peerage, in the 1896 New Year Honours. The patent creating him Baron Leighton, of Stretton in the County of Shropshire, was issued on 24 January 1896; Leighton died the next day of angina pectoris.
Leighton remained a bachelor and rumours of his having an illegitimate child with one of his models in addition to the supposition that Leighton may have been homosexual continue to be debated today. He certainly enjoyed an intense and romantically tinged relationship with the poet Henry William Greville whom he met in Florence in 1856. The older man showered Leighton in letters, but the romantic affection seems not to have been reciprocated. Enquiry is furthermore hindered by the fact that Leighton left no diaries and his letters are telling in their lack of reference to his personal circumstances. No definite primary evidence has yet come to light that effectively dispels the secrecy that Leighton built up around himself, although it is clear that he did court a circle of younger men around his artistic studio.