Lucas Cranach the Elder 1472 – 1553

Jesus and the Adulteress

oil on panel (82 × 121 cm) — 1532 Museum Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Lucas Cranach the Elder biography

This work is linked to John 8:7

Tags: Adulteress

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In John 8, the Scribes and Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman who has been discovered in the act of adultery, asserting that the law of Moses requires that she be stoned. This puts Jesus in a difficult spot: he has to obey the old laws, but must also respect the Roman law that states that capital punishment is a Roman privilege.

If Jesus were to refer the case to the Romans, he would lose his authority. If he were to judge by himself, the Romans might arrest him for insurgency.

Cranach has painted the solution in text: "Wer under euch an Sund ist, der werffe den ersten Stein auef Si (1532)". In English: He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her. One by one, the defeated scribes leave the scene.

This painting may also have been made by Cranach's son Hans.

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