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Christ and the Adulteress

Valentin de Boulogne French

Not on view

Confronted with an adulterous woman who the law would condemn to punishment by stoning, Jesus looks up while writing in the dirt and says, "He that is without sin . . . let him first cast a stone." The scene is usually shown as a dispute between Jesus and the Pharisees. Here, the absorbed attention of the onlookers is on Christ and the enigmatic words he is writing—which we, like the Pharisees, cannot see. Christ’s gaze alone is directed at the accused woman. Valentin’s originality and deep sense of humanity are fully in evidence.

Christ and the Adulteress, Valentin de Boulogne (French, Coulommiers-en-Brie 1591–1632 Rome), Oil on canvas

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