December 13, 2011

Art I Hate and Why: Lovis Corinth's "Samson Blinded"

Nationality: German
Born-Died: 1858-1925
Creation Date: 1912
Media: Oil on canvas
Location: Nationalgalerie, Berlin , Germany

This is not merely an illustration of Samson, a character from the Old Testament.  Its value as art lies in the fact that what it represents is much more fundamental: a view of man—an opinion about the nature of all men embodied in the image of one man.  The view of man offered in this painting is the following: man is weak, groping blindly, crushed, sickly, incapable, brutish, and (at best) formerly powerful. 
On a separate note, this painting is very poorly painted, which is strange because Lovis Corinth was a capable representational artist.  The drops of blood are poorly observed and cartoonish. I have seen B-movies with more realistic blood. The chain lifts at the bottom unrealistically as if it is avoiding the edge of the canvas and the volume of the body is really not captured.


  1. The reason for the sloppiness of this painting is simple. It was painted after Lovis Corinth had just gotten over having a stroke. Some say that he painted this as an expression of how he felt while he was suffering through his debilitation. The eyes and the hands are the tools of the artist and in this image they are covered and bound. >.> I say for this being the same year that he regained his faculties is pretty impressive.