Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The Canaanite Woman

Folio 164r

Jean Colombe has painted the story of the Canaanite woman as told by Matthew:

And Jesus went from thence, and
retired into the coast of Tyre and

And behold a woman of Canaan
who came out of those coasts, crying
out, said to him: Have mercy on me,
O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter
is grievously troubled by a devil.

Who answered her not a word. And
his disciples came and besought him,
saying: Send her away, for she crieth
after us:

And he answering, said: I was not
sent but to the sheep that are lost of
the house of Israel.

But she came and adored him, saying:
Lord, help me.

Who answering, said: It is not good
to take the bread of the children, and
to cast it to the dogs.

But she said: Yea, Lord; for the
whelps also eat of the crumbs that
fall from the table of their masters.

Then Jesus answering, said to her:
O woman, great is thy faith: be it
done to thee as thou wilt: and her
daughter was cured from that hour.
(Matthew XV: 21-28)

The artist faithfully recorded the details of the text in this double miniature representing Christ's two different attitudes. Above, He turns away from the Canaanite woman who implores Him despite the scorn of the apostles; in a house at the right we see a woman trying to comfort the recumbent girl who is tormented by a devil.
In the small miniature below, the Canaanite kneels before Christ, who is touched by the perseverance of her faith and makes a gesture of consent; the apostles now seem to share their Master's feelings.
This is one of Jean Colombe's most beautiful miniatures, for its natural poses, well-rendered expressions, pleasant colors, picturesque setting which includes details of the village in the background (the half-timbered house, square garden, farm, well, dovecote, and church with its lean-to roof), and the sort of mountain landscape for which the artist was justly famous.

small image (33KB) --- large image (289KB) --- Beautiful landscape (large) (225KB) --- The Canaanite woman kneels before Christ (large) (258KB) --- Christ grants her wish (large) (235KB)

Next folio --- Previous folio --- Return to index