Washing of Christ’s Feet by St. Carlomannus
ca. 1700
32.5" x 26"
Framed: 42.75" x 36"
Painting, oil on canvas
Region: Altiplano, Peru
Based perhaps upon a Flemish print, this painting presents a variation of "Washing the Apostle's Feet" (John 13:4-17) before the Last Supper. . This work is commissioned by the Benedictine order to stress the traditional charitable practice of cleansing the feet of twelve poor men on Maundy Thursday. Based upon the still life of lilies in a vase, the saint may be St. Carlomannus, son of Charles Martel. A Benedictine, he typically is represented with a crown at his feet, holding a crucifix from which springs three lilies. The painting probably was executed during the reign of the Bourbon king Charles III (1759-1788). The background panels showing people in bed symbolize the need for Christian acts of charity in view of life's brevity. Foretelling the Last Judgement (Mark 13:33-37), Christ states:

Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when time is. Even as a man, who, going into a far country, left his house and gave authority to his servants over every work and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore (for you know not when the lord of the house cometh, at even, or a midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning. Lest coming on a sudden he find you sleeping. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.