Mary Magdalen Washing Christ's Feet.In the Salon at Houghton.
John Boydell excudit 1777. Published Aug.st 1st 1777 by John Boydell Engraver in Cheapside London.
Mezzotint. 470 x 580mm (18½ x 22¾"). Trimmed within plate at bottom, thread margins elsewhere chipped. Crease top right.
Peter Paul Ruben's 'Feast in the House of Simon the Pharisee', painted in Flanders circa 1618-20, representing the conflict between the material values and religious dogmatism of the Pharisees world and the Christian doctrine of sympathy, charity and goodness. Here the repentant sinner washing Christ's feet is named as Mary Magdalene; however the Gospel of Luke leaves her nameless. At the time of this engraving the painting was part of the art collection of Sir Horace Walpole (1676-1745) at Houghton, Norfolk. Following his death part of the collection was sold to pay off debts, and by the 1770s it was inevitable the rest would suffer the same fate. Before it could be dispersed John Boydell commissioned a vast series of mezzotints of the collection, which was fortuitous: despite John Wilkes attempt to persuade Parliament to buy the collection for the nation 206 paintings were sold to Catherine the Great for £40,550 in 1779. 127 works from Houghton, including this one, are now in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
[Ref: 35458] £230.00