The Washing of the Feet (Le lavement des pieds)
After the disciples dine together, the company passes into another chamber, the artist notes, where Jesus washes the feet of his followers, an act of selflessness and humility that presages his later sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
Although Peter, sitting at center with his hands at his head, protests his unworthiness, Jesus insists on the physical and spiritual necessity of the cleansing act. Hinting at his knowledge of his future betrayal by Judas, by saying that not all of his apostles are “clean,” Jesus nevertheless includes Judas in this rite. In Tissot’s image, Judas sits at the extreme left, his body uncomfortably twisted as he awaits his turn.
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Image: 9 3/4 x 16 11/16 in. (24.8 x 42.4 cm)
Sheet: 9 3/4 x 16 11/16 in. (24.8 x 42.4 cm)
Frame: 16 7/8 x 22 7/8 x 1 1/2 in. (42.9 x 58.1 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Signed bottom right: "J.J. Tissot"
Purchased by public subscription
1900, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
This item is not on view
James Tissot (Nantes, France, 1836–1902, Chenecey-Buillon, France). The Washing of the Feet (Le lavement des pieds), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 9 3/4 x 16 11/16 in. (24.8 x 42.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.222 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.222_PS2.jpg)
overall, 00.159.222_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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