Solomon J Solomon, “Samson” 1887, Oil on Canvas, 3658 x 2438 cm
Solomon J Solomon was born in London and lived there initially. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools, at the Heatherley School of Art, and later in Munich and Paris in the early 1880s with other British art students. From their French training they acquired academic skills in representing the nude – even when contorted in difficult poses – and in organising complicated, multi-figure compositions.A very few of them, notably Solomon, also gained a taste for the sensational and violent scenes then popular in the major Parisian exhibitions.
“Samson” was painted when Solomon was only 27 years old, in his new studio in London’s Holland Park. At that time he was starting to gain a reputation, especially as a portrait painter. Millais visited the artist in his studio whilst Solomon was painting “Samson’” and was surprised that such a large picture could be painted in a small studio. This painting caused a stir when exhibited at the Royal Academy and became Solomon’s best known painting.