European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection
Christ and the Woman Taken in AdulteryMade in Netherlands (historical name, 15th-16th century), Europe
Follower of Hieronymus Bosch, Netherlandish (active Hertogenbosch), c. 1450 - 1516
Oil on panel
Currently not on view
Inv. 353John G. Johnson Collection, 1917
This work is likely the only copy after a Bosch original of the scene from chapter eight of the Gospel of John. A young man has escorted an adulteress before Christ, who has written on the ground the inscription, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."
Bosch undertook to paint religious subjects on commission not only for the church, but also for such great patrons as Philip IV, Duke of Burgundy and Hendrick II, Count of Nassau. Bosch's fantastic and sophisticated imagery conveyed a somewhat pessimistic, moralizing message and a personal, imaginative spirituality. These characteristics were consistent with the Devotio Moderna movement—then flourishing in the Low Countries—which focused on an individual's inner life, stressed the importance of meditation, and encouraged a personal relationship with God.