Polenov : Christ and the Adulteress
The remarkable painter Vasily Polenov (1844-1927) created not only landscapes and genre scenes but also historical subjects. Noteworthy is his Christ and the Adulteress, a New Testament subject. When the Hebrew priests asked Christ what to do with the adulteress, who by tradition should have been stoned, he said: "Let he who is without sin among you, cast the first stone." To research the subject matter for this picture, Polenov travelled to Palestine, Syria and Egypt. The ancient temple depicted on the canvas actually exists. But the basic motif is the secular understanding of Christ as the poor wanderer whose wisdom and mercy are contrasted to the vicious hypocrisy of the priests, inciting the mob to stone the woman.