Christ at Supper with Simon the Pharisee, with the Anointment of Christ's Feet by Mary Magdalen
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Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Italian, about 1785
Pen and brown and gray ink, brush with brown and gray wash, over black chalk
19 1/8 x 14 3/4 in.

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In the center of this chaotic, theatrical scene, Mary Magdalen kneels to anoint Christ's feet, while Judas Iscariot stands before them scorning the waste of precious ointment. Rather than showing the scene as it would have appeared during the Biblical era, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo created an image related to contemporary Venice, with wigged and turbaned gentlemen crowding a large room. The tonal nuances of golden washes throughout the sheet are characteristic of Tiepolo's style. Divine light pours in from the direction to which Christ points, and the large column along the center of the sheet stands in shadow against the masonry wall. Tiepolo created this large drawing as part of an extensive Biblical series of more than 250 sheets depicting scenes from the lives of Christ and the Apostles. He conceived each drawing in the series as an independent work of art.