Jan 20, 2009
Jan 20, 2009

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery

c. 1535 or later

cast after a model by Valerio Belli

(Italian, c. 1468–1546)

Gilt bronze (later perforated with a keyhole)

Overall: 6 x 7.5 cm (2 3/8 x 2 15/16 in.)

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 1968.27



In the Gospel of John, a group of scribes and Pharisees, following the law of the Ten Commandments, intends to stone a woman who has committed adultery. The group first asks Christ's opinion of their actions, hoping to accuse him of heresy, but Christ ignores them by writing on the ground. When they persist Christ tells them, "He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." First and foremost a gem and rock crystal engraver, Belli's plaquettes are often casts made from designs he had already made in rock crystal. This work was cast after one of 24 carved rock crystal scenes from the life of Christ that adorned a silver gilt casket Belli created for Pope Clement VII in 1532. The keyhole cut into this plaquette was added later.

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