William Dyce
St John Leading Home his Adopted Mother 1842–60

Artwork details

William Dyce 1806–1864
St John Leading Home his Adopted Mother
Date 1842–60
Medium Oil paint on paper
Dimensions Support: 762 x 1099 mm
frame: 1074 x 1402 x 135 mm
Acquisition Presented anonymously 1894
Not on display

Display caption

In this episode from the New Testament the Virgin Mary and St John depart from Jesus’s tomb in the cool, symbolic light of the setting sun. Inspired by Renaissance painting techniques, Dyce has deployed rich colours, clearly-defined outlines and precise brushstrokes, which lend a pristine finish.

Dyce paid close attention to the natural environment of the Holy Land, the same kind of ‘truth to nature’ favoured by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Dyce never travelled beyond Europe but achieved this authenticity by studying botanical illustrations or observing plant specimens in a hothouse.

October 2013

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