Monumental Classicist landscape painting
10th Tiberius Auction
Monumental landscape painting of classicism
Belluno 1676 – 1730 Venice, attributed
The Samaritan Woman at the Well
Southern Germany/Upper Italy
Oil on canvas, relined
189 x 238 cm, with frame 196.5 x 246.5 cm
This Neoclassical landscape painting shows a monumentalising landscape with two towering trees against a vast sky, framed by gorge-like, craggy rocks. The two trees with bent trunks and dense treetops parallel the two central figures in the left foreground. These are engaged in conversation, while in the right foreground a sleeping wanderer is camping on the rocky path. In the middle ground a shepherd and a shepherdess are shown as staffage figures, underlining the idyllic landscape. They also stand out due to the bright colour accents of their clothing.
Among other things, Marco Ricci designed stage sets that are characterised by a naturalistic landscape style. The staffage figures are further elements in the overall composition that emphasise the pastoral landscape. However, an important scene from the Bible was also added here, namely that of the Samaritan woman at the well.
Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well when he sits down and asks her to give him a drink (John 4). Although there should be no contact between Jews and Samaritans, the two converse. Here the woman is depicted with a water vessel, which she appears to be lowering down the well to fetch water. Christ is sitting opposite her at the well and has raised his left hand in a gesture of proclamation. Jesus declares that he has water to give that will quench any thirst. The Samaritan woman asks for this water, recognises Jesus’ prophetic gift through his revelations, and converts to Christianity. She is baptised and named Photina, and later dies a martyr under the Roman Emperor Nero.
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