Clothing the Naked

Michiel Sweerts Flemish

Not on view

Clothing the naked is one of the Seven Acts of Mercy traditionally promoted in Catholicism. Sweerts reduces the theme to a fraught confrontation between two individuals, one opulently dressed, the other nude and seemingly wary of the garments offered to him. He painted this image, most likely for a Catholic patron, while living in Amsterdam and engaged in regular fasting and other acts of devotion. In 1662 the artist joined a group of missionaries bound for Persia, although he was later dismissed from their company for his erratic behavior.

Clothing the Naked, Michiel Sweerts (Flemish, Brussels 1618–1664 Goa), Oil on canvas

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