Christ and the Samaritan Woman

Duccio is the leading exponent of the 15th-century Italian School of Sienna. He was a contemporary of Giotto and a painter of the School of Florence, and he painted the murals in Assisi and Padua. Duccio was commissioned to paint pictures for La Maestá which adrons the altar of Sienna cathedral and which comprises a number of pictures, this panel amongst them.

The artist has placed the scene against a rather theatrical golden background. On one side, we have the figure of Christ and the Samaritan woman, and on the right are the apostles, who are seen underneath an archway set into a slightly Gothic-looking building which the painter has used to try to convey a greater feeling of depth. He has done the same thing with the study of the well, although the perspective is still very rudimentary.

This Gothic work was already heralding some of the features that were to be typical of the Renaissance style, such as the evolution of painting towards greater naturalism. In the scene on the left, the painter has shown the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman by placing their hands in an attitude of conversation. Jesus is sitting on the well and is calling out to the woman, who is carrying a water jar on her head, much like the women in Spanish villages, who used to carry them until well into the 20th century. He asks her for a drink of water, to which she replies “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan for water?” And thus began a conversation that would lead to the woman’s conversion. The apostles, led by St. John, show their surprise at seeing Jesus conversing with a stranger. Christ’s blue and read clothing is very colourful, as is St. John’s orange tunic.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Author: DcoetzeeBot
Permission: This artwork is in the public domain: The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to the EU Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author's death. In other countries, legislation may differ.