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Jacopo Bassano, The Good Samaritan

Key facts
Full title The Good Samaritan
Artist Jacopo Bassano
Artist dates active about 1535; died 1592
Date made about 1562-3
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 102.1 × 79.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1856
Inventory number NG277
Location Room 29
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Good Samaritan
Jacopo Bassano

A man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by thieves who stole his clothes and left him for dead. A priest and a Levite saw the injured man but both passed him by. A Samaritan bound the man’s wounds, put him on his own mule, and carried him to an inn, where he left money for the man’s care. Christ told this story after being asked who should be loved as a neighbour. He said that the man who had shown mercy was the true neighbour and instructed his followers to go and do likewise.

Bassano has shown the moment when the Samaritan lifts the man on to his mule. The two dogs are licking up the wounded man’s blood. The priest and the Levite can be seen walking away in the distance.

Jacopo Bassano may have been the first Italian artist to represent the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 30–7). He did so several times, and the subject became popular with other Venetian artists, including Veronese.

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