Pieter Aertsen: The Healing of a paralytic at Bethesda (1575)


(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A painting by the Dutch artist Pieter Aertsen (1508-1575). This painting shows a miracle of Jesus Christ, described in the gospel of John (John 5:1-16). According to the story the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem was periodically visited by an angel and whoever stepped into the water after this visit would be cured. When Christ visited the pool, he saw a sick man who complained that he was never able to get to the pool first. Christ said: “Do you want to become well?" The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get into the water, someone else goes down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Immediately the man was healed, and he picked up his mat and started walking. (Now that day was a Sabbath.) (John 5:6-9). On the painting the pool is visible at the back with an angel about to dive into the pool. Painting from 1575.

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