Amaranth and Amythest: Rubens on the Glories of Purple

Of course purple is an Easter colour, perhaps that’s why it’s on my mind.  But here it is in a decidedly un-Easter-like context, Rubens’s glorious Samson and Delilah (well, unless one has been watching the Biblical onslaught on TCM today).  I used to spend hours in front of this painting, sweeping my eyes across the reds and purples awash in an almost ludicrous sea of painted passion – is that deep purple/red of Delilah’s dress what one might properly call (proper has nothing to do with it) amaranth? And, sweeping upwards, is the throbbing purple of that ridiculously theatrical curtain the purest distillation of amythest?  A wonderful too-muchness –



About hickson1

Art historian, professor, Italian Renaissance and Baroque specialist, Italophile
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