The Woman Taken in Adultery, by Luca Giordano (1634-1705).

Oil on canvas, 96.5cm by 121cm. Signed: Jordanus F.

The painting illustrates a parable from St. John’s Gospel, in which Jesus prevents the stoning of an adulterous woman with the words, ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’

It was purchased by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) whilst on the Grand Tour in Italy and appears in the 1688 Burghley Inventory: ‘My Ladyes Dressing Roome…1 piece of ye woman taken in Adultery in a large Guilt frame, by Jordanus.’

The earl was a great admirer of the Neapolitan Giordano’s work and bought and commissioned many paintings from the artist whilst in Italy.


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