Oil on canvas
Framed: 54.6 x 64.8 x 8.9 cm (21 1/2 x 25 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.); Unframed: 34.6 x 43.5 cm (13 5/8 x 17 1/8 in.)
Holden Collection 1916.785
The subject originates in the Gospel of John 7:53-8:11, where Pharisees bring a woman accused of adultery to Christ, attempting to trick him into disobeying the Old Testament precept that she be stoned. In response, Christ interrupted his writing on the ground, stating: "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." The Pharisees, unable to retort, gradually disperse, and Christ eventually sends the woman away with an admonition not to sin again. The subject was popular in 18th-century Venice, partly because magnanimity was an important value, celebrated in visual, musical, and literary culture. The showy, exotic subject and the public presentation of an openly sexualized woman also enjoyed popularity in 18th-century Venetian painting. This work is a copy of the picture at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, perhaps by a student (and certainly not by Ricci himself)
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