Good Samaritan

Federico Bencovich

  • Good Samaritan 2
  • Good Samaritan 3
  • Good Samaritan 4
Basic information
Federico Bencovich
Good Samaritan
Date of creation
1st half of the 18th c.
oil painting
canvas oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
45 x 56
Information about author
Federico Bencovich
Artist's lifetime
Federico Bencovich belonged to a group of Venetian artists of the first half of the 18th century who skilfully combined Giambattista Piazzetta's tenebrism with Sebastiano Ricci's colourful style. He was born into a noble family from the island of Brac and had property in Dalmatia. The artist began his studies in the Bolognese painter Carlo Cignani's workshop in 1695. He most likely met Giuseppe Crespi there, whose expressive style influenced his work. Later, the artist moved to Venice, where he quickly adapted Piazzetta's and Ricci's innovative painting approaches. The master visited Vienna in 1717 and Milan in 1724. The works by Federico Bencovich are distinguished by the dramatic effect created by chiaroscuro, a combination of cold tones and elongated disproportionate figures. At the end of his career, the master changed his usual painting style, preferring lighter pastel colours.
Object description
The plot of the painting reveals the parable that Christ told when asked who should be loved as his neighbour. The story is about a man who was attacked while travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbed, and left injured on the road. A priest and a Levite passed by but did nothing to help him. Only a Samaritan stopped and bandaged the man's wounds, put him on his mule, took him to an inn, and left money for his care. In the foreground, Bencovich depicted when the Samaritan dressed the man's wounds. A landscape showing a Levite and a priest unfolds in the background. The use of light and shadow contrasts and a cold colour palette inherent in the artist's early works is a feature of the canvas. The painting likely was a preparatory sketch (modello) for a larger composition.