ZICK, Johann
(b. 1702, Lachen, d. 1762, Würzburg)

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well

Oil on canvas, 90 x 70 cm
Christian Museum, Esztergom

This painting depicts the story of Christ meeting with the woman of Samaria from the Gospel of John (4:1-20), a parable of tolerance. 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 initially surprised, since Jews and Samaritans were traditional 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. While the religious authorities of Jesus's day generally denounced and shunned the Samaritans as heretical, he does not reject this woman. Rather, he extends to her and her compatriots the hand of compassion and possible salvation.

Zick's paintings of biblical and mythological subjects from the 1750s are characterized by strong contrasts of light and shadow, in the style of Rembrandt.