The J. Paul Getty Museum

Christ and the Samaritan Woman

Object Details


Christ and the Samaritan Woman


Alessandro Magnasco (Italian, 1667 - 1749)






Oil on canvas

Object Number:



144.8 × 109.2 cm (57 × 43 in.)

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Object Description

When Christ paused to rest at Jacob's Well, a holy site for both Samaritans and Jews, he requested a drink of water from a Samaritan woman. Though she was initially surprised, since Jews and Samaritans were traditionally enemies, she became increasingly intrigued by the knowledgeable and all-seeing visitor as they talked. Believing him to be a prophet, she spoke of looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. "I am he, the one who is speaking to you," Jesus replied.

Against the sober classical ruins, Alessandro Magnasco gave the scene an expressive urgency with his characteristically agitated drapery and rapidly sketched, attenuated musculature. Magnasco took the subjects of both this painting and its pendant, Noli Me Tangere, from the New Testament Gospel of John. A collaborator probably painted the background of antique ruins in both pictures.

by 1927 - 1938/1939

Ernst Remak (Berlin, Germany), by exchange with his cousin, Herbert T. Kalmus, 1938/1939.

1938/1939 -

Dr. Herbert T. Kalmus (Los Angeles, California), by inheritance to his wife, Mrs. Herbert T. Kalmus.

- 1973

Mrs. Herbert T. Kalmus (Los Angeles, California), sold through Joseph J. Szymanski (Santa Monica, California) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973.

Italienische Malerei des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts (May to June, 1927)
  • Antiquitätenhaus Wertheim (Berlin), May to June 1927
Italienische Malerei des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts (May to June, 1935)
  • Nassauisches Landesmuseum (Wiesbaden), May to June 1935

Voss, Hermann. Italienische Malerei des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, exh. cat. (Berlin: Antiquitätenhaus Wertheim, 1927), p. 20, no. 92.

Italienische Malerei des 17. und. 18. Jahrhunderts, exh. cat. (Wiesbaden: Nassauisches Landesmuseum, 1935), p. 13, no. 126.

Pospisil, Maria. Magnasco (Florence: Fratelli Alinari, 1944), pp. xxii-xxiii, lviin62.

Geiger, Benno. Magnasco (Bergamo: Istituto italiano d'arti grafiche, 1949), p. 73.

Muti, Laura, and Daniele de Sarno Prignano. Alessandro Magnasco (Ravenna: Edit Faenza, 1994), p. 229, no. 170.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 78, ill.