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Christ and the woman taken in adultery. From: Principles of drawing
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Christ and the woman taken in adultery. From: Principles of drawing, result 1 of 1

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Christ and the woman taken in adultery. From: Principles of drawing
Work Type
prints, etchings, works on paper
late 16th-early 17th Century
Image: 168mm (width), 109mm (height), Support: 170mm (width), 112mm (height), Frame: 530mm (width), 480mm (height), 40mm (depth)

Jacopo Palma was born into a Venetian family of artists. His father ran a successful workshop, and his great uncle was the renowned painter Palma Vecchio. In spite of this, Palma Giovane, as he is often called, was virtually self-taught. In 1567 he caught the eye of the Duke of Urbino, whose patronage allowed him to study in Rome. There, Palma embraced the practice of making preparatory drawings (disegno), a custom that was traditionally associated with central Italy. He returned to Venice in the mid-1570s, where his blend of naturalism and moderate Mannerist exaggeration became popular. Palma's work increasingly reflected his appreciation of the Venetian masters, particularly Jacopo Tintoretto. Following Tintoretto's death in 1594, Palma became the city's leading painter.

This etching comes from the series De excellentia et nobilitate delineationis libri duo (Principles of Drawing). This is a pattern/model book which provided images that students could copy. It was probably never intended to be published as a bound compilation, as the prints it contains are of very different subjects and sizes. Palma Vecchio had famously painted the same Biblical theme in 1510-11 (Christ and the woman taken in Adultery), which is in the Hermitage, St Petersberg. While the painting is solemn and relatively simplified with a plain background, the etching is considerably more complex, with an architectural setting. The distinctively coiffeured adulturess looks modestly downwards, whereas Jesus is shown in full spiritual powers, with a blazing halo, as he gently but insistently challenges anyone who has not sinned to cast the first stone on the adulteress.


Dr Mark Stocker Curator, Historical International Art February 2017

Collection: Art
Gift of Bishop Monrad, 1869
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Image and original data provided by Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa
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