Poster for 'La Samaritaine' (1897)

Edmond Rostand was one of several playwrights who became admireres as well as lovers of Sarah Bernhardt during her career. He dedicated four of his plays to her including La Samaritaine, which is derived from the biblical account of John 4:1-30. Sarah played Photina, a girl from Samaria who encounters Christ at a well, becomes a Christian and then encourages her countrymen to do likewise. Mucha alludes to the Biblical sources by making use of Hebrew text both in the mosaic halo behind the girl's head and also in the panel supporting the water jar. Her also extends the Hebraic influence into the rest of the lettering on the poster.