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The Washing of the Feet
Tintoretto, Jacopo Robusti
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Tintoretto, Jacopo Robusti

Venecia, 1518 - Venecia, 1594

The Washing of the Feet

1548 - 1549. Oil on canvas, 210 x 533 cm.

This scene from the New Testament (John 13, 1-20) shows the moment just before the Last Supper, when Jesus washed Saint Peter´s feet as an example of humility and service to others. The displacement of the main characters, Christ and Saint Peter, to one end of the composition is due to the original location of this work on the right wall of the presbytery of San Marcuola, where the image of Christ washing Saint Peter´s feet was on the part of the canvas closest to the congregation. When seen from the right, the painting is extraordinarily coherent. The dead spaces among the characters disappear and the composition appears ordered along a diagonal that begins with Christ and Saint Peter and continues along the table and the Apostles around it, to end at the Arch behind the canal, which is the work´s true vanishing point. This work is taken from “La Scena Tragica”, an engraving in Sebastiano Serlio´s Secondo libro di prospettiva (Paris, 1545). On the right, the celebration of the Last Supper is taking place in another room. The inclusion of that episode is justified because those are two successive moments in the Bible story, but also as an allusion to the painting hanging across from this one at the presbytery of San Marcuola, which was a Last Supper, also by Tintoretto. This work was acquired by Charles I of England. When he died, it was purchased by Luis de Haro, who gave it to Felipe IV. The King had it hung in the sacristy at El Escorial, where it remained until it entered the Prado Museum in 1936.

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Technical data

Inventory number
P02824
Author
Tintoretto, Jacopo Robusti
Title
The Washing of the Feet
Date
1548 - 1549
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
High/Height: 210 cm.; Width: 533 cm.
Provenance
San Marcuola, Venecia; Acquired Commonwealth Sale (Charles I´s collection) by Houghton, 1651; Acquired by Alonso de Cárdenas, 1654, for the Luis Méndez de Haro collection's, who gives it to Felipe IV. Royal Collection (Salas Capitulares, Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, 1656-1936; deposited in the Prado Museum by the Junta Delegada de Incautación, Protección y Conservación del Tesoro Artístico Nacional, 1936; by Decree of 02.03.1943 it was established temporary deposit in the Prado Museum

Bibliography +

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Exhibitions +

Tintoretto
Madrid
30.01.2007 - 13.05.2007

La Almoneda del Siglo. Relaciones artísticas entre España y Gran Bretaña, 1604 - 1655
Madrid
15.03.2002 - 02.06.2002

Location +

Room 025 (On Display)

Update date: 19-03-2016 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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