Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples, c. 1575
ink, wash on paper
21.7 x 29.3 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Mannerist painter Luca Cambiaso spent most of his life in Genoa executing scenes of ancient history and mythology in various palaces and churches. After submitting a painting of St. Lawrence to the Escorial in Spain, he was invited to be court painter to the Spanish King Philip II (1527–1598) in 1583. Celebrated particularly for his drawings, Cambiaso assimilated the Mannerist style of the Roman school in his compositions while maintaining a restraint in the exaggeration of the human form. He employed simplified shapes along with a wide tonal range of light and shadow in order to stress the massing of the figures and the sense of action or movement. In this scene of Christ washing the disciples’ feet, the artist focuses on the moment when Peter—seated on the stool—protests the humility of the kneeling Christ before him.