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Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery
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Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery


Pieter the Elder Bruegel (ca. 1525-1569)

Oil on panel

Width: 42.5 cm ( frame ); Height: 32.5 cm ( frame ); Depth: 0 ( frame :); Width: 34.4 cm ( panel ); Height: 24.1 cm ( panel );

Lower left corner within image, BRVEGEL.M.D.LXV

Within image, foreground by Christ's hand, DIE SONDER SONDE IS / DIE [Flemish text, John, VII, 7 'He that is without sin among you, let him (first cast a stone at her')]

Acquisition (source, method, date)
Seilern, Antoine (Count); bequest; 1978

About this work
‘Grisaille’, or painting in shades of grey, was traditionally used to decorate the outside of the folding panels of altarpieces. Bruegel has used it here in an exquisite display of skill, to be treasured by a private collector.

Watched by his disciples, Christ writes on the ground that he who is free of sin should cast the first stone at an adulterous woman. This biblical story challenged hypocrisy as well as demonstrating the virtue of mercy. (Permanent collection label)

Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

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