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Attributed to Titian (Italian painter and draftsman, ca. 1488-1576), Christ and the Adulteress

Core Record

Title Christ and the Adulteress
Collection Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums): Kelvingrove Museum
Artist Attributed to Titian (Italian painter and draftsman, ca. 1488-1576)
Attributed to Giorgione (Italian artist, 1477-1510)
Date Earliest probably 1508
Date Latest probably about 1510
Description The Adulteress can be described without hesitation as the most important work in Glasgow Museum's Italian paintings collection. For a long time controversially ascribed to both Giorgione and Titian, it is now generally accepted as an early work of the latter, although there may be those who still support the alternative attribution. The painting tells the story of the woman who, caught in the act of adultery, was brought before Jesus. It was demanded that she should be stoned to death as dictated by Hebrew law. Christ's answer was the striking phrase: 'He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone at her' (John 8. 2-11).
Current Accession Number 181
Subject figure; religion (Christ and the Adulteress)
Measurements 139.2 x 181.8 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Archibald McLellan 1855.
Principal Exhibitions Winter exhibition, Royal Academy, London, 1893, cat. no. 119; Exhibition of Old Masters, Grafton Galleries, London, cat. no. 85; Exhibition of Italian Art: 1200-1900, Royal Academy, London, 1930, cat. no. 162; Works by Holbein and other Masters of the 16th and 17th Centuries, Royal Academy, London, 1950-51, cat. no. 214; National Gallery, London; McLellan Centenary Exhibition, Glasgow Art Gallery, Glasgow, 1954, cat. no. 22, as Giorgione; Giorgione e I giorgioneschi, Venice, 1955, cat. no. 47; Primitives to Picasso: An Exhibition from Municipal and University Collections in Great Britain, Royal Academy of Art, London, 1962, cat. no. 35, as Giorgione; Paintings from Glasgow Art Gallery: A Loan Exhibition in aid of the National Art-Collections Fund, Wildenstein, London, 1980, cat. no. 11; The Genius of Venice 1500-1600, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1983-84, cat. no. 35, as Titian; Le siècle de Titien: L'âge d'or de la peinture à Venise, Grand Palais, Paris, 1993, cat. no. 42a; The Age of Titian: Venetian Renaissance Art from Scottish Collections, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2004, cat. no. 13, as Titian.
Publications The McLellan Gallery: Catalogue of Pictures Bequeathed to the People of Glasgow by the late Archibald McLellan, Glasgow, 1855, 'Centre Room: Italian and German Schools', no. 95, p. 11, as 'Bonifaccio'; Armstrong, W., 'The Corporation Gallery of Glasgow', Magazine of Art, 1890, p. 92 (engraved by Jonnard), as Giorgione; Pinnington, E., The Art Collection of the Corporation of Glasgow: Illustrated with Twenty-five Annan Photogravures, Glasgow 1898, pp. 13, 31, 41-42 and repr.; Justi, L., Giorgione, Berlin, 1908, vol. 2, pl. 29, as Giorgione; Tietze-Conrad, E. 'The so-called §Adulteress§, by Giorgione', Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6. per., 27, 1945, pp. 189-90; Ruhemann, H., 'The Adulteress', Scottish Art Review, 1954, p. 13; Della Pergola, G., Giorgione, Milan, 1955, as Sebastiano; Ruhemann, H., 'The Cleaning and Restoration of the Glasgow Giorgione', Burlington Magazine, vol. 97, 1955, pp. 278-82; Berenson, B., Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, London, 1967, vol. 1, p. 84, and vol. 2, pls. 659-61; Wethey, H., Titian, London, 1969, vol. 1, p. 169 and pl. 204, as Giorgione; Catalogue of Italian Paintings: Illustrations, Glasgow Art Gallery and Museums, 1970, p. 62 (ill.), as Giorgione; Zampetti, P., The Complete Paintings of Giorgione, London, 1970, p. 95, no. 34, as Mancini; Pignatti, T., Giorgione, London, 1971, pp. 122-23, no. A 16, plate 168, 172, as Titian; Wilde, J., Venetian Art from Bellini to Titian, Oxford, 1983, pp. 115 (ill.), 118; Pallucchini, R. and F. Rossi, Giovanni Cariani, Bergamo, 1983, no. V 36, p. 352, under 'Dipinti vari', not by Cariani; Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum: The Building and the Collections: with an Introduction by Alasdair A. Auld, London and Glasgow, 1987, p. 104, ill. 7; Hornig, C., Giorgiones Spätwerk, Munich, 1987, no. 32, pp. 234-36, as Giorgione; Ballarin, A., cat. entry, Le siècle de Titien: L'âge d'or de la peinture à Venise, Paris, 1993, no. 42a, pp. 379-400, as Suzanne et Daniel, by Titian; Joannides, P., 'Two Topics in the Early Work of Titian', Apollo, vol. 140, October 1994, pp. 17-27; Joannides, P., Titian to 1518, New Haven and London, 2001, pp. 89-94; Humfrey, P., The Age of Titian: Venetian Renaissance Art from Scottish Collections, Edinburgh, 2004, pp. 10-12, p. 80-82, ill. 4.

The painting has been cut at the right side and a further fragment was acquired in June 1971 for the museum (see inv. no. 3283).

In the museum's catalogues, from the beginning to the last illustration volume of 1970, always as by Giorgione.

The provenance was formerly reconstructed as follows: possibly the Adultera attributed to Giorgione in the inventory of Giovanni Vincenzo Imperiale, Genova, 1661; collection of Queen Christina of Sweden, 1689 (inv. no. 69), as Giorgione, and 1721 (inv. no. 121), as Pordenone; passed through the Orleans collection as Pordenone. However, the picture in the Orleans collection was engraved by Marchand after J. A. Regillo for the Description des tableaux du Palais Royal by Dubois de Saint Gelais, L. F. (Paris, 1727) and this is undoubtedly another painting.

Rights Owner Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums)
Author Dr Heiner Krellig



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