Ambrosiana

CHRIST WASHES THE FEET OF THE APOSTLES
FLEMISH PAINTER

In John’s Gospel, the narration of the Last Supper begins with the scene of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. It is a gesture of humility that the Master makes so to be imitated, but it is also an action that anticipates the salvation brought by Jesus in the humiliation of the death of the cross.
This painting is quite curious, especially for for the great dynamism conferred by the characters’postures: on the left, do not miss the figure of the apostle who cuts his toenails. The room in which Christ washes the feet of his disciples and prepares the Easter banquet appears classical, with statues and bas-reliefs.
The first statue on the right depicts Giuditta showing the head of Holofernes and bears the word “veritas” on her feet. The other two statues probably represent as many virtues. The bas-reliefs above depict biblical scenes of unclear identification: probably the Sacrifice of Isaac, Moses who receives the law and the display of the tables of the law, while at the top right an inscription in Hebrew characters, of which one can only read ” Lord of Armies ”, places the scene in the Jewish context.

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