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Ancient Art

Baptistery wall painting: Christ Healing the Paralytic

ca. A.D. 232

Paint on plaster

145 × 88 cm (57 1/16 × 34 5/8 in.)
Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos
In a scene from the baptistery that depicts Christ’s miraculous works, Christ heals a bedridden man. The man appears twice: in the foreground, he is shown paralyzed, and on the left, he joyfully carries his bed away. The scene signified to viewers the healing quality of baptism in the nearby font, where initiates received forgiveness for sins and began new lives as Christians.
Excavated in Dura-Europos, Syria
On view
Syrian, Dura-Europos
Roman (3rd century A.D.)

Excavated by the Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos (block M8, Christian Building), present-day Syria, 1928–37; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2011), 334, no. 19, pl. 19.

Katherine M Kiefer and Susan B. Matheson, Life in an Eastern Province: The Roman Fortress at Dura-Europos, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), no. 5.

Jennifer Chi and Sebastian Heath, eds., Edge of Empires: Pagans, Jews, and Christians at Roman Dura-Europos, exh. cat. (New York: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 2011), 46, no. 22, fig. 2–8.

Ann Perkins, The Art of Dura-Europos, 1st ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), 52–55, pl. 18 left, ill.

Per Ingesman and Nils Arne Pedersen, Kirkens Historie, 2 vols. (Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2012), 116, Dura-Europos in detail pps. 113–118 Drawing of the house church, fig. 3.6, reconstruction of the baptistery at Yale University Art Gallery, fig. 3.7 , fig. 3.8.

Clark Hopkins, The Discovery of Dura-Europos, ed. Bernard Goldman (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979), 90–91, 112, ill.

Carl H. Kraeling and C. Bradford Welles, The Excavations at Dura-Europos (New Haven, Conn.: Dura-Europos Publications, 1967), 57–61, fig. 5 is a drawing from a tracing of Christ, pls. 18 (color), 25, 34, 35 (tracing), 38:1 (detail), 38:2 (field photograph), fig. 5.

Sebastian P. Brock, Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage (Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias Press, 2011), 132.

Blair Fowlkes-Childs and Michael Seymour, The World Between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019), 204–5, no. 145A.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.