Christ washing the Feet of the Disciples

Tintorettoabout 1575-80

The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London

Painted, probably in the 1560s, for the Chapel of the Sacrament in the Venetian Church of S. Trovaso (SS. Gervasio e Protasio) together with a 'Last Supper'.

Before the Last Supper Christ washed his disciples' feet using a basin of water and wiping them 'with the towel wherewith he was girded'. Peter protested, but Christ observed, 'If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me'. Peter then said, 'Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head' (John 13: 1-9).

Parts of the painting, the figure with a torch in the foreground to the left especially, are badly worn.

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  • Title: Christ washing the Feet of the Disciples
  • Creator: Jacopo Tintoretto
  • Date Created: about 1575-80
  • Physical Dimensions: 204.5 x 410.2 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • School: Italian (Venetian)
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG1130
  • Artist Biography: Tintoretto's family name was Robusti; he took the name Tintoretto from his father's profession of dyer (tintore in Italian). Tintoretto's art is characterised by daring inventiveness in both handling and composition. Most of his paintings are large-scale narratives on canvas, animated by dramatic lighting and gestures. The 19th-century copy of 'The Miracle of Saint Mark' gives an impression of this type of work. Tintoretto was deeply influenced by Titian; he wanted to combine Titian's use of colour with the energised forms of Michelangelo. Tintoretto is usually described as a Mannerist, although his striving for effect is less in the cause of stylishness and more for the sake of narrative drama. He appears to have lived and worked for most of his life in Venice, only once being recorded on a visit outside of the city, to Mantua in 1580. After Titian's death Tintoretto, with Veronese, became one of the leading painters in the city,controlling a large workshop. He designed and worked on a number of commissions for the Doge's Palace, and on an outstanding cycle of paintings for the Scuola di San Rocco, which are still in their original location.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1882


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