Manchester Art Gallery

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet

Ford Madox Brown, 1821 - 1893

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet

Ford Madox Brown 1821 - 1893


Interior scene. In the foreground, left, Jesus kneels on a piece of red cloth before Peter, who is seated on the right. He is washing Peter's feet, which rest in a bowl, and drying them with a light coloured cloth which he wears around his waist, his only item of clothing. Jesus' head, surrounded by a halo, is bent down, as he is focused on his task. Peter also looks downwards, his hands clasped in his lap, his shoes on the floor next to him. Various other figures are seated around a large table behind them, watching the scene. A man on the far left leans down to take off his shoes.

Display Label

Drawings and Watercolours by Artists of the Pre Raphaelite Circle 11 October 2008 – 11 January 2009 Drawing is a more intimate activity than oil painting, and often better reveals the personality of an artist. In the 19th century individuality was often lost because of the rigid way in which drawing was taught. Artists in this display all rejected this academic training and, through drawing, developed their own individual style. They are often grouped together as Pre-Raphaelite because of their shared interests and concerns. Instead of working-up drawings laboriously with heavy shading to show volume and depth, they adopted a simple, more linear approach which they saw as more direct and honest. Although they associated this with early Italian art it also had much in common with the printed ephemera which had surrounded them since childhood, from cut-out toy theatres to book illustrations. They sought inspiration in history and literature, using the clear bright colours and simplicity they associated with medieval art. Friends were recruited as models to add realism. Drawing helped these artists to develop their ideas and produce works of great poetry and imagination. In addition to Holman Hunt and the Pre Raphaelite Vision in the gallery next door, you can see more Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the Victorian galleries on the first floor. Please note: we have set the light levels quite low in this gallery as drawings and watercolours are particularly sensitive to damage from intense lighting

Object Name

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet

Creators Name

Ford Madox Brown

Date Created



unframed: 48.6cm x 54.8cm
framed: 66.8cm x 72.6cm

accession number


Collection Group

fine art
on paper, unique

Place of creation







© Manchester Art Gallery

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