Attributed to Mario Balassi (Florence 1604-1667)
The Good Samaritan
oil on canvas
48.2 x 85cm (19 x 33 7/16in).
Portraying a Samaritan in a positive light would have come as a shock to Jesus's audience. It is typical of his provocative speech in which conventional expectations are inverted.
Mario Balassi (1604–1667) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active in Florence and Rome. He accompanied Ottavio Piccolomini to Rome to work under the papacy of Pope Urban VIII, and also accompanied him to Vienna, where he painted a portrait of the Emperor Ferdinand III. He was commissioned by Taddeo Barberini to paint a Transfiguration, now found in the church of the Cappuccini of Rome. For the church of Sant' Agostino, in Prato, he painted a picture of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, and for the Society of the Stigmata in Florence, a St. Francis. In the Vienna Gallery there is a Madonna and Child painted on stone. Among his pupils was Andrea Scacciati.