Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet

Ford Madox Brown, Jesus Washing Peter's Feet, 1852-6. Oil paint on canvas, Tate Gallery, London.

In this piece Ford Madox Brown has created images of the disciples as human being of flesh and blood, confused by what is happening and peering over the table at Jesus and Peter. It has an unusually low viewpoint and the compressed space helps to show Jesus as a real human being as well, vulnerable and frail, humiliating himself in an act of loving humanity.  Contemporary critics objected to the picture’s coarseness – it originally depicted Jesus with fewer clothes. This caused an outcry when it was first exhibited and it remained unsold for several years until Ford Madox Brown reworked the figure in robes.


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