Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) 1591 – 1666

The Woman taken in Adultery

oil on canvas (98 × 123 cm) — c. 1621 Museum Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) biography

This work is linked to John 8:7

Tags: Adulteress

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The Pharisees try to make Jesus break the old Jewish laws. They bring a woman before him who has committed adultery. According to the law of Moses she should be stoned. Jesus does not argue with them. In stead, he says "he that is without sin, let him cast the first stone". That made the Pharisees leave. Jesus then tells the woman to "go, and sin no more".

Guercino shows a vulnerable woman who seems ashamed or remorseful. With a gesture of his hand, Jesus reacts to the Pharisee who appears to be summing up articles from a legal text.

There are five figures in a small space. By using light and darkness the artist made it clear who are the main protagonists of this story.

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