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Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery

Artist
Mattia Preti, Italian, 1613–1699
Date
1640s
Material
Oil on canvas
Made in
Rome, Lazio, Italy, Europe
Classification
Paintings
Current Location
On View, Gallery 236
Dimensions
56 5/8 × 75 1/2 in. (143.8 × 191.8 cm)
Credit Line
Funds given by Opal and Arthur H. Meyer Jr.
Rights
Public Domain
Object Number
113:2017
NOTES
This painting illustrates the Christian New Testament story in which Jesus defied the Pharisees, an ancient religious sect, who had charged a woman with adultery. Challenging Jesus to break the law, the Pharisees asked him if he would recommend the required punishment of stoning. After first writing his response on the ground, Jesus spoke: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Mattia Preti focused on the moment just before Jesus speaks, when Jesus and the Pharisee point to the inscription. Preti’s dramatic, close-up view, rich coloration, expressive sky, and heavy use of contrast make this painting representative of the baroque style that first developed in Rome in the 1630s. (J. Mann/November 2018)
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