The J. Paul Getty Museum

Christ Washing the Apostles' Feet

Object Details

Title:

Christ Washing the Apostles' Feet

Artist/Maker:

Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)

Culture:

Flemish

Place:

Bruges, Belgium (Place Created)

Date:

about 1525–1530

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig IX 19 (83.ML.115), fol. 87v

Dimensions:

Leaf: 16.8 × 11.4 cm (6 5/8 × 4 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

Having wrapped a towel around himself, Christ washes the feet of his apostles at the Last Supper. Simon Bening focused his image on Saint Peter's shocked reaction to the idea of Christ washing his feet. Peter throws his hands up into the air in an ostentatious gesture of disbelief that seems to be answered by Christ's own intent movements. The other disciples register their discomfort in varying responses. Seated along the length of the walls of the room, they alternately lean forward and back, creating a sense of visual unrest in the miniature. To make the viewer feel that the event had been captured at a very specific moment in time, Bening represented the water as if it was about to spill over the lip of the basin held by the boy.