In The Good Samaritan, Walter Rane illustrates the Biblical story of the man who fell among thieves and is left for dead at the side of the road. Both a priest and a Levite pass by him, but a Samaritan—part of a despised sect—feels compassion for him. Luke tells us that the Samaritan “went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”
This painting illustrates the moment when the Samaritan first goes to check on the man. This is the moment that “he had compassion on him.” The Samaritan is tilting the injured man’s head back and gently touching his face with an expression of concerned kindness.
The injured man is shown unconscious, stripped of his clothing, and dotted with blood. His recumbent position echoes a traditional pose in art for the dead Christ, similar to the pose in Michelangelo’s Pieta. This connection between the beaten man and the crucified Savior remind the viewer of the Savior’s teaching, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Further reading: “Bind Up Their Wounds”