Friday Photo: In the Lion’s Den

13th century candelabra, Walters Museum, Baltimore.

13th century candelabra, Walters Museum, Baltimore.

Today’s Friday Photo, courtesy of the Walters Museum, continues our Old Testament theme. Just as Merovingian kings may have been inspired by the sacred authority of Samson’s hair, so too was the 13th century artist responsible for this bronze candlestick. Here, we see an allusion to one of Samson’s most famous feats–his ability to slay a lion bare-handed. Depicted riding the beast, with one hand set proprietorially on its head, this piece demonstrates how Biblical figures served as models for the conduct and self-presentation of mediaeval kings and aristocrats.  Note, in particular, this Samson’s finely rendered hair.

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