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Christ and the Adulteress, 1540

  • oil paint, panel
  • 58 x 87.6 cm
  • Inv. S-109

Public Domain

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The theme of Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery is taken from the Gospel of John (8: 1-11). While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, the scribes and the Pharisees brought him a woman caught in the act of adultery. According to the law of Moses, she was to be stoned. When they cunningly asked him what he thought of this, Jesus answered, “Whoever is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone at her”, after which the accusers slunk away one by one. The story is set within a Renaissance-style temple overlooking the city of Jerusalem. The woman stands shyly near the exit, a basket of stones at her side. While Jesus crouches on the floor to write his answer in the dust, the accusers take flight. A striking detail is the dog at the bottom right who, as a symbol of marital fidelity, also leaves the scene, but turns to look back. This mannerist panel, which is dated, but whose author is unknown, is situated within the circle of Pieter Coecke van Aelst.


Anonymous Master
painters (artists)AAT

Title Christ and the Adulteress
Date 1540
Period 16th century
Location Southern Netherlands TGN
Signatures, inscriptions, and markings year centre below on the cartouche: 1540
inscription on the ground: Qui Sine peccato est / vestrum primis / (in illam) lapi(dem mittat) johannis 8.
inscription on the hats
Collection paintings AAT
Object type oil paintings (visual works) AAT
Inventory number S-109
Acquisition credit
Current whereabouts Work on display
IIIF Manifest
Art & Architecture Thesaurus 300055874 religious symbolism AAT
Keywords Iconclass 11D Christ Iconclass
11D3 Christ as adult Iconclass
12A521 high priest ~ hierarchy of priests Iconclass
25G4111 garland, wreath Iconclass
25I city-view, and landscape with man-made constructions Iconclass
31A72 female sex; woman Iconclass
31E23411 violent death by stoning Iconclass
34B11 dog Iconclass
41A housing Iconclass
41A1 civic architecture; edifices; dwellings Iconclass
41A14 urban housing Iconclass
41A381 loggia, verandah, porch Iconclass
41A7751 container made of plant material other than wood: basket Iconclass
41D26511 gold-thread embroidery Iconclass
41D267 purse, money-bag Iconclass
42D39 adultery Iconclass
46A633 debate, discussion (~ meeting) Iconclass
48C145 architectural settings in paintings, sculptures, etc. Iconclass
48C16 architectural detail Iconclass
48C1634 Corinthian order ~ architecture Iconclass
48C167 pavement, floor ~ architecture Iconclass
73 New Testament Iconclass
73C public life of Christ: from his baptism until the Passion Iconclass
73C7222 Pharisees bring a woman accused of adultery before Christ (John 8:2-11) Iconclass
73C72221 Christ points to or writes on the ground Iconclass
School / Style Renaissance AAT
Note des tableaux dessins et estampes déposés dans la ci-devant école de l'abbaye de Baudeloo. Ceux marqués d'un K sont conformes à la note du 10 ventôse an V, trouvés au quartier de l'abbé de Saint-Pierre / Charles Piot. - [s.l.] : [s.n.], [s.a.] (nr. 204)
Un tableau inconnu du Musée de Gand / Louis Maeterlinck. - [s.l.] : [s.n.], [s.a.] (p. 43-44)
Catalogue du musée de peinture de la ville de Gand, 1900 / Louis Maeterlinck. - Gand : Imprimerie Victor Van Doosselaere, 1900 (nr. 25)
Museum van Schoone Kunsten : Catalogus ; Oude Meesters, Schilderstukken, teekeningen, plaatsneden (met geschiedkundig overzicht) / Maurice Dupuis, Georges Charles Nicolas Marie Hulin de Loo, Fritz Van Loo. - Gent : Drukkerij F. De Vos, 1938 ; Gent : Stad Gent, 1938 (p. 38-39 ('Coecke van Aelst'))
La 'Bruegels Verhältnis zu Raffael und zu Raffael -Nachfolge', in: Festschrift Kurt Badt / Fritz G. Grossmann. - Berlijn : [s.n.] : 1961 (p. 136)
Renaissance flamande : Pierre Coeck d'Alost / Georges Marlier. - Bruxelles : Robert Finck, 1966 (p. 95, 402)
Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart / Ulrich Thieme, Felix Becker. - Leipzig : Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, 1907-1950 (dl. 7, p. 162)
Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent : Catalogus schilderkunst ; Deel I: 14de - 18de eeuw ; Deel II: 19de - 20ste eeuw / Robert Hoozee, Johan De Smet, Bruno Fornari, Ruth Monteyne. - Gent : Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent, 2007 (dl. I, p. 175 (ill.))
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