Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Christ and the Woman of Samaria; the woman standing at the well holding a jug, a group of figures in a doorway behind at right Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, heightened with white (partly discoloured), over black chalk, on paper rubbed with red chalk Verso: Christ Healing the Man Born Blind; a man washing his hands in a well to right, a tower and wall behind Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, over black chalk, on paper rubbed with red chalk


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1390-1410 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 275 millimetres
    • Width: 208 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Popham & Pouncey 1950
        Inscribed in top left corner of recto in a sixteenth-century hand, in ink: "16. ugolino".
  • Curator's comments

    The drawing is on a mount (either by or in imitation of Vasari's 'Libro de'Disegni') bearing an attribution to the Bolognese painter Galante, about whom almost nothing is known. Robinson in the Malcolm catalogue accepted this attribution while Berenson suggested it was close to the Aretine artist Spinello Aretino. Pouncey published it, along with a companion double-sided sheet in the Devonshire collection at Chatsworth (Jaffé no.147), as Sienese second half of the fourteenth century, pointing out their stylistic and compositional affinities with paintings by Duccio (fl. 1278-1319) and Simone Martini (fl. c.1284-?1344). The connection with Siena and Simone is confirmed by a sixteenth-century inscription on the Chatsworth drawing: 'di m[aestr]o Simone memmi da Siena' (ie. Simone Martini). The BM and Devonshire drawings have on occasion been attributed to Lippo Vanni (fl. c.1340-1375), a Sienese artist best known as an illuminator but also active as a painter. Degenhart and Schmitt do not accept this attribution, listing the Chatsworth, BM and a more polished drawing in the Uffizi, Florence (22E; Degenhart-Schmitt no.107), which they believe to be the same hand, as Sienese c. 1390. The Uffizi drawing does not appear to be the same hand, in the 1978 exhibition of early Florentine studies it was catalogued as Florentine late XIVc and not Sienese. Most recently Lawrence Kanter has suggested that the drawings are by the Sienese painter, Andrea di Bartolo (1389-1428) who frequently cited well-known works of art. The clear reference to Duccio protypes in the drawings would fit his working practice, but there is otherwise insufficient evidence to securely cement his name to them. A number of suggestions have been made as to their function (for this see the Ames-Lewis' 1992 article), but the most likely scenario is that they are for a fresco cycle of Christ's life such as the one in Collegiata of San Gimignano traditionally thought to be by Barna da Siena from the 1330s or 1340s. Another possibility is that they are for a series of panels, like Simone Martini's Orsini polyptych, dedicated to scenes from the life of Christ. Preparatory working drawings of this kind are extremely rare from this period.

    The medium of the drawing has been confirmed by Satoko Tanimoto and Giovanni Verri from the Department of Scientific Research in a campaign of investigation of the Italian 15th century drawings linked to the forthcoming 2010 exhibition. The analytical methods employed have been non-destructive and non-contact ones: infrared and ultraviolet imaging, with XRF and Raman spectrometry. Lit.: J.C. Robinson, 'Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings by the Old Masters, forming the Collection of John Malcolm of Poltalloch, Esq.', London, 1876, no. 239 (as Ascribed to Galante da Bologna); B. Berenson, 'Drawings of the Florentine Painters', Chicago, 1938, II, no. 2756 A-1 ('close to Spinello'); P. Pouncey, 'Two Simonesque drawings', 'The Burlington Magazine', LXXXXVIII, 1946, pp.168-72; A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', London, 1950, I, no. 269 (with previous literature), II, pls. CCXXXII, CCXXXIII; M. Meiss, 'Nuovi dipinti e vecchi problemi', "Rivista d'Arte", XXX, 1955, pp. 137-42 (as Lippo Vanni); L. Grassi, 'I disegni italiani del Trecento e Quattrocento: scuole fiorentina, senese, marchigiana, umbra', Venice, n.d [1960?], nos. 9-10 (as Lippo Vanni); L. Tintori and M. Meiss, 'The Paintings of the Life of St. Francis at Assisi, with Notes on the Arena Chapel', New York, 1962, p. 47 (as Lippo Vanni); C.L. Ragghianti, 'L'Autore dei Disegni', "Critica d'Arte", 1962, 49, p. 6, figs. 14-15 (as Lippo Vanni); B. Degenhart and A. Schmitt, 'Corpus der italienischen Zeichnungen, 1300-1450, Süd-und Mittelitalien', Berlin, 1968, I-1, no. 109, 1-3, pl. 159 (as Siena c. 1400); L. Ragghianti Collobi, 'Il Libro de'Disegni del Vasari', Florence, 1974, I, pp. 32-3, II, figs 19-20 (as Lippo Vanni); F. Bellini, in exhib. cat., Florence, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, 'I disegni antichi degli Uffizi, i tempi del Ghiberti', 1978, under no. 3, p. 6; F. Ames-Lewis and J. Wright, in exhib. cat., Nottingham, University Art Gallery and London, V & A, 'Drawings in the Italian Renaissance Workshop', 1983, under no. 48; H. Wohl, 'The Eye of Vasari', "Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz", XXX, 1986, no. 19, p. 559, no. 19; F. Ames-Lewis, 'Drawing for Panel Paintings in Trecento Italy: Reflections on Workshop Practice', "Apollo", CXXXV, June 1992, p. 359; M. Jaffé, 'The Devonshire Collection of Italian Drawings, Tuscan and Umbrian Schools', London, 1994, under no. 147; L. Kanter in his unsigned entry in the Matthiesen Fine Art Ltd catalogue, 'Gold Backs 1250-1480', London, 1996, p. 124; H. Chapman and M. Faietti, exhib. cat., BM, London, `Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings`, 2010, no. 3, pp. 92-5 (cat. entry by H. Chapman).Popham & Pouncey 1950
    Of Galante nothing appears to be known beyond the few words devoted to him by Vasari and Malvasia. Vasari (ii, p. 15) says that he was a pupil of the Bolognese, Lippo Dalmasio (cf. Lippo's signed 'Madonna' in the National Gallery), and cites a portrait drawing in his own collection (present whereabouts unknown) in evidence of Galante's superiority over his master. Malvasia ('Felsina Pittrice', 1678, p. 27) has a low opinion of the only picture by Galante to which he refers. No connection with Bolognese art of Lippo's period (c. 1400) is discernible in the drawings. The sheet is catalogued by Robinson under Galante's name, by Berenson under that of Spinello Aretino, with the qualification, 'very close to Spinello'. But the general character of both drawings is unmistakably Sienese and more precisely Simonesque; and even the treatment of the subject-matter with its dependence on Duccio's 'Maestà' - cf. panels from the 'Maestà' in the J. D. Rockefeller, Jr., Coll. ('Christ and the Samaritan Woman') and the National Gallery ('Christ healing the Blind Man')—points to Siena. Simone Martini's influence is seen at its strongest perhaps in the figures of Christ and the woman. The resemblance is obvious in the type of Christ's face, but His extended hand is also very Simonesque in the way in which the fingers bend back (cf. the Virgin's hand in the picture of 1342 at Liverpool). The woman's profile and the expression of eye and mouth are closely paralleled in figures occurring in the Assisi frescoes (cf. man to r. in 'Funeral of S. Martin' and profile of female saint in Gothic niche in the same chapel). The connection with Siena and with Simone in particular finds confirmation in the inscription: "di m° Simone Memmi da Siena" (written in a sixteenth-century hand) on a companion sheet at Chatsworth (no. 716; repr. 'Burlington', ibid., p. 170), which likewise has drawings on both sides, evidently by the same artist ('Betrayal of Christ' and 'Christ before the High Priest'). Since Simone's influence persisted in Siena right down to the end of the fourteenth century and even later, it is difficult to date these drawings precisely, the more so as datable Sienese drawings for comparison do not appear to exist. The possibility that the drawings echo lost compositions by Simone has to be reckoned with.

    Literature: JCR 239; BB 2756A-1; O. Kurz, O.M.D., xii (1937/8), p. 8; P. Pouncey,Burlington, lxxxviii (1946), pp. 168 ff.


  • Bibliography

    • JCR 239 bibliographic details
    • Popham & Pouncey 1950 269 bibliographic details
    • Chapman & Faietti 2010 3 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Italian Imp XIVc)

  • Exhibition history

    1972, BM, 'The Art of Drawing', no.70 1996, BM, 'Old Master Drawings from the Malcolm Collection', apx.
    2010 April-July, BM, 'Fra Angelico to Leonardo', no. 3
    2011, March-June, Uffizi, Florence, 'Figure, Memorie, Spazio: Disegni da Fra'Angelico a Leonardo', no. 3

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Popham & Pouncey 1950 Vasari's mount with his attribution: "GALANTE DA BOLOGNA PITTORE" (recto and verso), beneath which a Dutch or German collector has written: "geb. in Bologna 1427". The style and inscription of the mount are not entirely compatible and it might be an imitation of a Vasari mount rather than by him.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Christ and the Woman of Samaria; the woman standing at the well holding a jug, a group of figures in a doorway behind at r Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, heightened with white (partly oxidised), over black chalk, on paper rubbed with red chalk V


Christ and the Woman of Samaria; the woman standing at the well holding a jug, a group of figures in a doorway behind at r Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, heightened with white (partly oxidised), over black chalk, on paper rubbed with red chalk V

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PDO10918

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help