|Style and Handling Overview
Rubens was a painters’ painter, famous in his own lifetime for his outstanding draughtsmanship and attention to detail.
Yet on close inspection, details in the Samson and Delilah show themselves to be crudely painted, to our minds unable to bear comparison with undisputed works of his from any period.
There are four main aspects of the painting’s style which are problematic.
Foremost is the absence of Rubens’ lyrical handling of the brush. Through its adhesion to contour and its expression of rhythm, his brush never normally fails to evoke the subtleties of form in space while at the same time expressing the artists ingenious sense of pictorial design.
Other problems are inferior observation of nature, a vague and indecisive response to tone (the play of light and shade), and a similarly foggy response to the subtleties of colour transition across the forms.
In addition to the problems of style, there is a raft of more technical issues which will be examined here in depth.
Check back for research on this topic over the last 10 days of October. Meanwhile please explore this aspect of our case in the flash movie or try out or in-development Comparisons Tool.