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Christ at the Pool of Bethesda

Photo credit: St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum and Archive

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This painting depicts an episode in Saint John's Gospel, chapter 5, verses 1–15. The man who has lain long at the pool of Bethesda is reclining in the foreground, a bandage around his head. Jesus stands on a rock to the left, in a maroon tunic with blue drapery. A group of invalids stand behind him and there is an angel in the centre, above the narrative from Saint John. A cartouche at the foot of the painting contains part of the biblical text. The subject was probably chosen to illustrate the work of the hospital. It has long been thought that the sick people in this painting were modelled on hospital patients, but there seems to be no proof of this. The naked woman is said to be modelled on Nell Robinson, a courtesan. The figure of Christ is perhaps copied from Bartolomé Esteban Murillo's ‘Christ Healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda’, which is now held in the collection of the National Gallery, London.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum and Archive

London


Date

1735–1736

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 416 x W 618 cm

Accession number

SBHX7/7.1

Acquisition method

presented by the artist, 1737

Work type

Painting


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Normally on display at

St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum and Archive

North Wing, St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London, Greater London EC1A 7BE England

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