• Feast in the House of Simon the Pharisee

    Artist:
    Rubens, Peter Paul (Pietro Pauolo). 1577-1640; Van Dyck, Anthony. 1599-1641
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    189x284,5 cm

Rubens, Peter Paul (Pietro Pauolo). 1577-1640; Van Dyck, Anthony. 1599-1641

Feast in the House of Simon the Pharisee

Flanders, Between 1618 and 1620

During a feast in the house of Simon the Pharisee, at which Christ and his disciples were present, a repentant woman entered the house and washed Christ's feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and then anointed them (Gospel According to Luke, vii: 36-38). The Pharisee criticised Christ for allowing so sinful a woman to touch him and for allowing the waste of valuable ointment. Jesus said to the woman: "Thy sins are forgiven. Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." To the Pharisees he said: "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much." Rubens conceives the painting as a dramatic conflict between the Pharisees and Christ. The Pharisees' world of material values and religious dogmatism is opposed to the Christian world of sublime ideas and noble acts, a world of sympathy, charity and goodness. Certain of the justice and morality of his position, Christ, and his disciples as they take in the words of their teacher, stand against the Pharisees, on whose faces we can read lack of comprehension, annoyance and even anger. The conflict between two totally opposed approaches to life is emphasised by the structure of the painting and the arrangement of the colour, at the basis of which lies the principle of dynamic contrast: the left side of the composition, occupied by Simon the Pharisee, is full of swirling movement and is marked by the uneven rhythm of small, broken forms; the right side, dominated by the figure of Christ, is composed of calm lines and large areas of colour.

Title:

Feast in the House of Simon the Pharisee

Place:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

189x284,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1779; acquired from the R. Walpole collection, Houghton Hall, England

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-479

Category:

Collection:

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