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Painting Title Christ in the House of Simon
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Imitator of Bouts, Dieric, the elder (Netherlandish painter, ca. 1415-1475)
Previously attributed to Master of the Morrison Triptych (Netherlandish painter, active 1st quarter of 16th century)
Date Earliest possibly about 1520
Date Latest about 1570

Christ sits by the table with three disciples and Mary Magdalene washes Christ's feet. The subject is taken from Luke 7.36-50, where the description of Simon the Pharisee's feast mentiones a woman, 'who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.' Traditionally, the woman is identified with Mary Magdalene.

The work follows the painting by Dirk Bouts (Staatliche Museum, Berlin, no. 533a), which was later repeated in reverse by his son, Albrecht Bouts (Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, no. 626). A copy dated about 1510-1550 is in the Sint-Janshospitaal in Bruges, and another, dated c. 1460, was in Lingholm House, Cumbria (sold Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh, 22 October 2013).

The first figure to the right is taken from the John Evangelist in Roger van der Weyden's Braque Triptych in the Louvre. However, the source of inspiration may have been a workshop drawing or another painting, as van der Weyden's motifs were popular and often repeated. The second figure on the right recalls a disciple in Leonardo's Last Supper in Milan, which was well known in Antwerp at the beginning of the 16th century.

Current Accession Number YORAG : 745
Subject religion (Christ in the House of Simon); figure; interior
Measurements 42.5 x 53.9 cm
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Given by F.D. Lycett Green through the National Art Collections Fund 1955.
Provenance Shepherd sale, Sotheby's London, 9 December 1931, lot 73 as by French School, purchased by F. D. Lycett Green.
Principal Exhibitions F.D. Lycett Green Gift, York City Art Gallery, 1955, no. 20 as by Master of the Morrison Triptych.
Publications York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. I: Foreign Schools 1350-1800, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1961, p. 74; Friedländer, M., Early Netherlandish Painting, Vol. VII, Quentyn Massys, Leyden, 1971, Supplement no. 176, pl. 123 as by Master of the Morrison Triptych; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 279 as Flemish School.

Francis Denis Lycett Green (1893-1959) was a member of the wealthy industrial Green family from Wakefield that was among the great philanthropic benefactors of York. He began buying pictures during the 1920s, advised by some of the most famous art historians of the day. By the 1940s, he owned examples from almost every school and period of European Art – a comprehensive collection of over 130 paintings dating back from the early 14th century to the end of the 18th century, representing every important European school of art. In 1952, he offered it to the National Gallery of South Africa, having moved to Cape Town in the hope that the climate would improve his health (which was poor because he was badly injured in the First World War). However when a dispute arose with the Cape Town Gallery, Francis withdrew his pictures in protest and shipped them back to England. The entire collection of 130 pictures was at first on loan to the York Art Gallery and in the spring of 1955 he decided to give it to the Gallery.

Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka



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