Ghislaine Howard - The washing of the feet
Ghislaine Howard (b.1953 )
Acrylic on canvas
102 x 127 cm
Methodist Modern Art Collection
Image Copyright © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. The Methodist Church Registered Charity no. 1132208
John 13:2 – 9, 12- 15
The figures, set against a rich green/blue background, completely dominate the composition. Their gestures and the rhythms of their bodies focus attention on the crucial moment of the narrative. Howard has mixed sand with the paint to create a sculptural surface texture which unifies and heightens the intensity and intimacy of the scene. The importance of the event is conveyed by the classical and monumental style which echoes earlier interpretations of the theme. The shape of the bowl and the warmth of the skin tones suggest Christianity’s Middle Eastern origins. The dress is simple and workman-like; these figures could be from any age and country. The simple, everyday act of washing a guest’s feet before offering hospitality becomes, through the words and actions of Jesus, pregnant with significance.
Commentary based on A Guide to the Methodist Art Collection.