Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles
- unknown artist
Unknown artist, Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles, about 1600. Paint and gold leaf on carved wood; 54 × 30 in. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Morris A. Long, 1986.603.
This carving of Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles would have been created for and used in an altarscreen of a late 16th-century Mexican church. Latin American churches were decorated with carved wood statues and relief carvings, just as they were in Europe. In the late 16th century artists who emigrated to the New World from Europe worked to decorate churches, often assisted by native artists. As styles changed through the centuries, altarscreens were often dismantled and replaced with new ones.
The artist who created this panel used foreshortening so that when it was mounted high on the wall in an altarscreen the imagery would have appeared three dimensional to the viewer. This consideration of viewer perspective on the part of the artist is particularly evident in the basin at the bottom of the panel. In order to create the effect of fabrics and skin the artist layered gesso, gold leaf and paints over carved wood.
-- Donna Pierce & Julie Wilson Frick, 2015