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Between and Mortarboard

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Mary's Well, Nazareth

Accession Number

Mary's Well, Nazareth

Felix Bonfils

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1867-1885

Medium & Support
​albumen print on paper

10 15/16 in x 14 in (27.78 cm x 35.56 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Margaret and Howard Bond

Subject matter
A group of women gather beneath the rounded stone vault of Mary’s Well in Nazareth, a location traditionally held as the site of the biblical story of the Annunciation. Most of the figures appear to go about their business—some sit and converse, others pour water, and others carry large earthen pitchers on their heads—though three of the women look directly at the viewer. The photograph seeks to capture a scene from the life and habits of these village women, as well as their costume. The unidealized presentation and lack of overt posing of the figures convey the photograph’s documentary, rather than picturesque, goals. This image is one of hundreds of photographs made throughout Bonfils's career which purport to document various landscapes, cityscapes, and people of the eastern Mediterranean.

Physical Description
A dozen female figures gather near a stone well; some sit in a group within the structure’s short stone walls while others carry earthen jars to and fro on their heads. Other stone buildings can be seen in the background, suggesting an urban environment. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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historic landscapes
pitchers (vessels)
travel photography
urban landscapes
water wells
women (female humans)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted