PICTURES OF THE BIBLE  © Serge Ceruti and Gérard  Dufour 2008






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The Good Samaritan ; Julius Schnorr von CAROLSFELD ; 1851-60; engraving from « Bibel in Bildern »



The Good Samaritan





A man is tending another man. The Good Samaritan is tending a stranger wounded by thieves.

The injured man is lying on the ground or already put on the back of a donkey or a horse. He is an ordinary Jew.

The Samaritan washes his wounds, wraps him up with linen, supports him or sometimes entrusts him to the care of a third man, an innkeeper in front of his house.

Other small characters can also be represented: the thieves who are escaping with the wounded man’s luggage and a man who is going way. He is a priest or a Jewish Levite who has just passed by and has not rescued the wounded man for fear of polluting himself at the contact of impure blood.

The landscape is often a forest crossed by a road since this is a traveller attacked by bandits between Jerusalem and Jericho.

The scene is more or less complete and the stress is laid on one or another moment.

A Samaritan cannot be recognized by any distinctive sign. Jews and Samaritans are descended from the same people and the kingdom of David but have no relations and despise one another, for the former accuse the latter of paganism who, in their turn, do not acknowledge the cult of the temple of Jerusalem.


It should not be confused with


The Flight to Egypt; Simon BENING; 1525; tempera and gold on parchment; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Paul Getty trust


The donkey led by a man and carrying the sick man can resemble the flight to Egypt with Mary, Joseph and the Christ-Child fleeing from Herod but Mary carrying the infant Jesus is easily recognizable.

(See The Holy Family)





The Good Samaritan ; Julius Schnorr von CAROLSFELD ; 1851-60; engraving from « Bibel in Bildern »



The Good Samaritan


The Gospel according to Luke, chapter 10:

A pious Jew asks Jesus: And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answered and said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

A priest and a Levite pass by without stopping.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.


Which now of these three, do you think was neighbour to him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus to him, Go, and do likewise. (Luke 10:29-37)




This narrative is a parable, or “comparison” in Greek. It is meant to give a lesson thanks to a story and its characters.

Jesus often speaks in parables.
See also The Prodigal Son, Poor Lazarus.





The Good Samaritan



The Good Samaritan ; Julius Schnorr von CAROLSFELD ; 1851-60; engraving from « Bibel in Bildern »



To help the wounded man is to set him on his feet again.


The Good Samaritan; Jacopo BASSANO; 1550-70; oil on canvas; National Gallery, London.

 National Gallery London



The Good Samaritan; Joseph HIGHMORE; 1744; oil on canvas; Tate Collection, London

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The scene painted by Delacroix is repeated by van Gogh


The Good Samaritan; Eugène DELACROIX; 1849; oil on canvas; private collection.




The Good Samaritan; Vincent van GOGH after Eugène DELACROIX; 1890; oil on canvas; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Holland

CGFA - A Virtual Art Museum


The Good Samaritan himself tends the wounded man.


The Good Samaritan; Lucas GIORDANO; 1685; oil on canvas; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, France

CGFA - A Virtual Art Museum



The Good Samaritan; William HOGARTH; 1737; oil on canvas, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London

Olga's Gallery - Online Art Museum


Two stained glass windows focusing on the horse; that of Sens introduces the innkeeper.


The Good Samaritan; 1561; stained glass window; Musée du Louvre, Paris.

in secula



The Good Samaritan; 13th century; stained glass window; Cathedral of Sens, France







The Good Samaritan ; Julius Schnorr von CAROLSFELD ; 1851-60; engraving from « Bibel in Bildern »



The Good Samaritan

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most famous in the Gospel and the phrase “good Samaritan” corresponds to a person who spontaneously comes to help another person in difficulty; yet the word sometimes takes a slightly pejorative value as if a person overdid it.


You will “love your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Whereas the adjective indicates only proximity, the noun is restricted to the moral domain. The neighbour is the one who is regarded as so close that he is like a fellow being.





BIBLE PICTURES   © Serge Ceruti and Gérard  Dufour 2008