Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Good Samaritan in Visual Art (part 3): Sant’Angelo in Formis (Italy)

North interior wall of Sant'Angelo in Formis (Italy) 

The above photo shows some of the New Testament and Hebrew Bible scenes that were painted on the walls of Sant’Angelo in Formis (in Italy, about 17 miles north of Naples) sometime around 1085. The parable of the Good Samaritan is found in three panels on the north wall, the first of which is found directly underneath the third window from the left in the above photo (If I find a better photo, I will post it).

The first scene depicting the Good Samaritan parable shows the man having been attacked, and his body is covered with bloody wounds. The man's face looks directly (pitifully if not pleadingly; cf. Ward) at the viewer (assuming the viewer is at the same height as the wall painting), which emphasizes the suffering of the victim and heightens the pathos of the scene.

The second panel depicts the priest and the Levite having passed by the wounded man (on the right side of the panel) and the Samaritan assisting him (on the left side of the panel). 

The third scene depicts the Good Samaritan (with a nimbus visible around his head) having taken the man to an inn, and it depicts him giving the innkeeper money to take care of the man.

Two scenes depicting the Rich Man and Lazarus parable are just to the right of these three scenes of the parable of the Good Samaritan, which heightens the impact of the message of the importance of taking care of one's neighbor (Luke 10:29, 36-37).

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