Abraham Bloemaert

Dutch (1564–1651)

Christ and the Samaritan Woman

1624 or 1626

Oil on canvas

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wally Bishop in memory of Mrs. John F. Carson


This New Testament painting is Bloemaert’s third extant version of the subject. In it, Bloemaert selected an earlier moment from the Gospel of John. Rather than revealing Himself as the Messiah, Christ appears to instruct the woman from Samaria, who pauses in her chore of drawing water from the well of Jacob. Mainstream Jews of Jesus’ day generally denounced the Samaritans as a heretical group, but Jesus does not reject the woman. Rather, he extends to her and, therefore her compatriots, the hand of compassion and possible salvation. The well’s pulley hangs ominously over the figure of Christ, perhaps the artist’s foreshadowing of the Crucifixion, while the butterflies serve to remind the viewer of the Resurrection.

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