William Dyce

St John Leading Home his Adopted Mother

1842–60

Artist
William Dyce 1806–1864
Medium
Oil paint on paper
Dimensions
Support: 762 x 1099 mm
frame: 1074 x 1402 x 135 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented anonymously 1894
Reference
N01426

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.

Gallery label, October 2013

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