JAWBONES in history, Frans Hals

This 1636 Frans Hals painting depicts a man holding a cow jawbone.  It is meant to illustrate the moment Samson has just killed one thousand Philistines with nothing more than an animal's jawbone.  (Judges 15:9)

painting by Frans Hals,

Below, the model was Hals' friend Pieter Verdonck. We know it was Verdonck from the poem that accompanied a later etching by another artist. A translation reads:

 "This is Verdonck, the bold guest whose jawbone attacks everyone

By not distinguishing between high or low born, he landed in the work house".

jan van de velde



 Perhaps he was less than thrilled with Hal's image, because changes were made to this painting.  The jawbone was erased and a wine glass  was placed in Verdonck's right hand and his unkempt hair was covered with a velvet beret.