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Matthias Stom

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery


Matthias Stom
Amersfoort (?) about 1600 – Sicily (?) after 1652


Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery


About 1630-1633


Oil on canvas


101.6 x 137.2 cm


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest and gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 1993.16


Western Art

The story of Christ and the Adulteress is told in the Gospel of John. To test Jesus, the Pharisees conduct a woman caught in the act of adultery and ask him how she should be punished. The punishment prescribed under Mosaic Law is death by stoning, but Christ replies, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Stom here depicts this dramatic moment. Without a doubt of having received his early training in Utrecht with such Caravaggisti artists as Honthorst, Stom uses a number of Caravaggesque effects, such as the contrasts of light and dark to isolate the figure of the adulteress and the Book of Moses. Christ’s hands articulate both His adjudication and mercy.

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