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Saving “Samson and Delilah”


Odessa Fine Art Museum together with Fratelli restaurant organised an italian Charity Dinner for raising a fund to study and restore “Samson and Delilah” painting which belongs to the museum.


One of the important components of the scientific work of museum workers is the attribution of works of art, i.e. determining the place and time of their creation, belonging to a certain historical period and artistic direction, as well as establishing authorship. One of the works, the author of which is still unknown, is “Samson and Delilah” from Odessa Fine Art Museum collection. This work once belonged to Anton Losenko, one of the directors of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. According to one version, the author could be Ivan Akimov, a student of Losenko and later Rector of the Academy, where he studied until 1772. He was one of those artists who, after receiving an academic pension, traveled to Europe and spent several months at the Bologna Academy.

“Samson and Delilah” , Unknown author

In the winter of 2019, the Italian art critic and researcher of Gaetano Gandolfi’s work Marco Riccomini came to the Odessa Fine Art Museum. Seeing “Samson and Delilah”, signed as an “unknown author”, Marco recognized in it a painting by Gandolfi. The researcher told about the existence of two sketches of the artist with the same plot, which compositionally repeat the work stored in the museum. Riccomini believes that the painting got into Losenko’s collection, and then to the museum.

There are minimal differences between the sketch from the French auction and the work stored in museum. You can trace the continuation of color and compositional searches. However to declare with confidence that the collection of the OFAM keeps the work of the Bologna master Gaetano Gandolfi, a comprehensive study, including technical and technological research, is needed.

That’s why Odessa Fine Art Museum organised an Italian Charity Dinner, which took place the 8th of August in the cozy courtyard of the museum. All raised fund will be used for the study and restoration of “Samson and Delilah” painting. The dinner was organised with the help of Fratelli Restaurant which set the table in the style of ancient Italian villas on the hills of Tuscany.

More photos: Odessa Fine Art Museum