Classical Ruins with Christ and the Woman of Samaria
Bartolomeus Breenbergh (Deventer 1598 - Amsterdam 1657)
The scene is taken from the biblical Gospel according to John (4:1-30). The woman from Sychar in Samaria, a town whose inhabitants the Jews considered outcasts, was the first person to whom Christ revealed himself as the Messiah, thus demonstrating that his mission of love and forgiveness was to all humanity. The Samarian woman has drawn water from Jacob’s Well and encounters Christ who has paused at midday on his way from Judaea to Galilee and asked her for a drink. As an adulteress, with five husbands and living with another man and ostracised by her own people, she was astonished but Christ said: "Everyone who drinks the water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I shall give him will never suffer thirst anymore."
Oil painting on canvas, Classical Ruins with Christ and the Woman of Samaria by Bartolomeus Breenbergh (Deventer 1598 – Amsterdam 1657), signed and dated bottom middle: B.Breenbergh 1635. Christ bottom left with a group of woman around him, with three Corinthian columns topped with a section of entablature to the right, and further ruins to the left. To the right are the three Corinthian columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the ruins of the Forum in Rome. The background ruins are derived from a composition by Jan Asselyn.
In 1677 inventory of William Murray, 1st Earl of Dysart (c.1600-1653/5) and thence by descent until acquired in 1948 by HM Government when Sir Lyonel, 4th Bt (1854 – 1952) and Sir Cecil Tollemache, 5th Bt (1886 – 1969) presented Ham House to the National Trust, and entrusted to the care of the Victoria & Albert Museum, until 1990, when returned to the care of the National Trust, and to which ownership was transferred in 2002
Ham House, The Dysart Collection (purchased by HM Government in 1948 and transferred to the National Trust in 2002)
Marks and inscriptions
Verso: Inscription in ink on back: A Landskip of Christ & the Woman of Canaan by Breenbergh Pret 12.
Makers and roles
Bartolomeus Breenbergh (Deventer 1598 - Amsterdam 1657), artist