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Painting Title Mary at the Well
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to a follower of Overbeck, Johann Friedrich (German painter, 1789-1869)
Date Earliest about 1810
Date Latest possibly about 1850

This is probably a devotional depiction of the Virgin Mary by the well. The painting is inspired by the Renaissance Italian art - the painting shows the traces of original frame, which apparently was semi-circular at the top, as in most Italian early modern altarpieces. The depiction is intensely spiritual, as, according to the apocryphal 'Protoevangelium' of James, the Annunciation took place by a well when Mary went to draw the water. The so-called Mary's Well is located below the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in modern-day Nazareth.

The painting is close in style to that of the Nazarene movement, active mainly in the first third of the 19th century; it seems to be close to the work by Johann Friedrich Overbeck, so it could have been created by a follower of his or of another Nazarene artist (or even of William Dyce). The Nazarene movement was formed by a group of early 19th century German Romantic painters who aimed to revive Christian art and were inspired by Italian Renaissance painting (mainly Raphael's). In 1809, six students at the Vienna Academy formed the Brotherhood of St Luke or Lukasbund, using a common name for medieval guilds of painters. In 1810 Johann Friedrich Overbeck, Franz Pforr, Ludwig Vogel and Johann Konrad Hottinger moved to Rome, where they decided to lived in monastic way at the abandoned monastery of San Isidoro. The group was joined by further German painters (most returned to Germany by 1830) and followed by painters of other nationalities.

Current Accession Number YORAG : 229
Subject religion; figure
Measurements 53.3 x 39.4 cm
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Transferred from The Yorkshire Museum 1948.
Publications York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. III: English and European 19th and 20th centuries, The Reserve Collection, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1974, p. 118 as by unknown artist; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 352 as by unknown artist.
Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka



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