Galleria Borghese logo
Search results for
No results :(

Hints for your search:

  • Search engine results update instantly as soon as you change your search key.
  • If you have entered more than one word, try to simplify the search by writing only one, later you can add other words to filter the results.
  • Omit words with less than 3 characters, as well as common words like "the", "of", "from", as they will not be included in the search.
  • You don't need to enter accents or capitalization.
  • The search for words, even if partially written, will also include the different variants existing in the database.
  • If your search yields no results, try typing just the first few characters of a word to see if it exists in the database.

Christ and the Samaritan Woman

Follower of Tisi Benvenuto called Garofalo

(Garofalo or Ferrara 1476 - Ferrara 1559)

This work has been attributed to a follower of Garofalo, probably from Flanders. The subject is taken from the Gospel of John (4.6–10): Jesus, tired from his journey to Galilee, sits next to Jacob’s well, where a woman from Samaria has come to get water. She is surprised when he, a Jew, a people notoriously hostile to Samaritans, asks her from some water.

Object details

1520 circa
oil on panel
cm 49 x 32

Borghese collection, documented in Inv. 1693, room V, no. 243; Inv. 1790, room I, no. 34; Inventario fidecommissario Borghese 1833, p. 9, no. 6. Purchased by the Italian state, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1992 Istituto Centrale del Restauro (pest control)
  • 2000 Carlo Festa (painting and frame)
  • 2020 Measure3D di Danilo Salzano (laser scan 3D)
  • 2020 Erredicci (diagnostics)
  • 2020 IFAC-CNR (diagnostics)


This painting, together with the other one of the same subject that was produced in the same context (inv. 227) and has been in the Borghese Collection since at least the inventory of 1693, follows a narrative format used by Garofalo and his school multiple times for this episode in the Gospel of John (4.13–15): Christ is sitting on Jacob’s well, talking to a woman from Samaria and asking her for water, promising her water that can quench her thirst for all of eternity. The scene takes place in a landscape that includes, in keeping with the New Testament story, Sichem, the city where the Samaritan woman will go to announce the coming of the new Messiah.

Adolfo Venturi (1893) perceived a strong Flemish influence in these paintings, which would have been very much within the realm of possibility for Ferrara artists, given the massive presence of artists from Flanders and the Low Countries in the Este capital during the sixteenth century. In this painting, Flemish attention to minute detail is combined with the Venetian approach to colour and the sculptural quality of the figures typical of art in central-northern Italy during those years.

The small painting, which can be securely dated to the 1510s, was attributed to Garofalo in all of the inventories subsequent to 1693, and it is possible that this is the work noted in a document datable to the 1630s, which describes a painting ‘with the Samaritan woman, copy of Garofano’ (Corradini 1998).

Lara Scanu

  • E. Platner, Bes Chreibung der Stadt Rom, III.3. Das Marsfeld, die Tiberinsel, Trastevere und der Janiculus, III, Stuttgart 1842, p. 281
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, pp. 130-131
  • G. Gruyer, L’art Ferrarais a l’époque des Princes d’Este, II, Parigi 1897, p. 325
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle gallerie italiane. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, nn. 221, 227
  • A. Venturi, Storia dell’Arte Italiana. La pittura del Cinquecento, IX, 4, Milano 1929, p. 318
  • B. Berenson, Pitture italiane del Rinascimento: catalogo dei principali artisti e delle loro opere con un indice dei luoghi, Milano 1936, p. 188
  • P. Della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, nn. 68, 69
  • S. Tarissi de Jacobis, in Il museo senza confini. Dipinti ferraresi del Rinascimento nelle raccolte romane, a cura di J. Bentini e S. Guarino, Milano 2002, pp. 186-187, scheda 34