The Prophet Elisha and the Shunammite Woman

Object Details


The Prophet Elisha and the Shunammite Woman


Claes Cornelisz. Moeyaert (Dutch, 1591 - 1655)




about 1630


Red chalk, brown ink framing lines


30.5 x 21.6 cm (12 x 8 1/2 in.)

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A Shunammite woman throws herself at the feet of the Old Testament prophet Elisha, begging his intervention to save her son. The son had collapsed in the fields and was seemingly dead. Elisha then went to the boy's room and performed his most remarkable miracle: he "lay on the child, put his mouth on his mouth. . . and the boy opened his eyes."

Most representations of the subject show Elisha in direct contact with the child, but Claes Cornelisz. Moeyaert chose a more unusual moment in the narrative. With subtle ingenuity, he underscored the broader moral implications of the story by simply presenting the woman's universal appeal for assistance. To heighten the emotional drama of the scene, she and Elisha appear in the foreground, shaded darker for emphasis, against a backdrop of less distinct yet attentive onlookers.

Teekeningen uit de Tijd voor Rembrandt en van Meesters, die niet onder Rembrandt's Invloed staan (March 8 to April 7, 1916) (63)
  • Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, (Leiden), March 8 to April 7, 1916
Verzameling Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot (August 16 to September 16, 1930) (70)
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, (The Hague), August 16 to September 16, 1930
Recent Additions to the Drawings Collection (August 3 to October 1, 1999) (70)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 3 to October 1, 1999
Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (May 28 to August 25, 2002) (70)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 28 to August 25, 2002