DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
(b. ca. 1255, Siena, d. 1319, Siena)

Washing of the Feet (scene 2)

Tempera on wood, 50 x 53 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

The picture shows one of the 26 narrative scenes from the Stories of the Passion on the reverse side of the Maestà. It is situated in the bottom row on the left side above the scene of the Last Supper.

Only John tells the story of the Washing of the Feet. The setting is the interior, in central perspective, of an unadorned room; the only decorative elements are the coffered ceiling and the multifoiled insert placed on the rear wall. This detail must also be imagined in the Last Supper, hidden by Christ's halo, since it reappears in Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles, which according to the gospel occurs in the same place.

Echoes from Byzantine art can be seen in the Washing of the Feet, in the crowded throng of the apostles and Peter's gesture, while Christ's position recalls Western models. The shape of the black sandals, aptly described by Cesare Brandi "as if they were precious onyx scarabs", is typical.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.