Jesus Washes Disciples’ Feet: Christian Artwork
The act of washing someone’s feet is one of the most humble acts we read about in the Bible. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, it was common courtesy for a host to present a travel-weary guest with water with which they would wash their own feet. The only time a guest did not perform the task themselves was when the host owned a slave, in which case it would be the slave’s job.
In other words, during this sacred event, Jesus, the Son of Man, knelt and completed the work of a slave. It’s no wonder his disciples were shocked and initially appalled at the idea of their master descending so low and performing a service for them for which they did not feel worthy.
Some of our most talented artists have harnessed their gifts to illustrate the sacred scene of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet. Discover new insights in their masterful artwork.
Jesus Washes Disciples’ Feet
These two images highlight the humility that Jesus Christ showed in washing His disciples’ feet. Simon Dewey and Eva Koleva Timothy are two of our most popular artists and we love the way that they have portrayed this important biblical scene.
Eva’s painting focuses on the act of washing itself. It focuses on the moment. Christ does not appear to be rushing through the ceremony, but rather taking His time for serving each individual.
The nature of the Last Supper carries a dark tone with the betrayal, suffering, and death so close at hand. Yet, Eva uses a bright, almost cheerful color palette. Her artist choice reminds us of why Jesus was willing to descend so low to save us: He wants to bring healing and hope.
Simon’s painting gives us a wider view of the scene. We can see all of Christ--especially His expression--as He serves His closest followers and friends. His face appears somber, perhaps reflecting on the event about to come or maybe feeling sorrow at the imminent departure from His friends.
Woman Washes Jesus’ Feet
In the Bible, we read of a humble woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. The woman remains unnamed, but her identity is well-known to the disciples and others present. Her reputation appears to precede her as a sinner and, as a result, a misfit.
Yet, as always, Jesus saw beyond her outward appearance and saw her heart. He understood the depth of sorrow that her mistakes had brought her and could sense that, at her core, she “loved much” (Luke 7:47).
Latter-day Saint artist Chelsea Fuller drives this story home by creating a more modern depiction. The little girl in her painting is the picture of innocence, but her motivation is much the same: love. Her painting seems to draw the question: what are we doing in our lives to show our love and devotion to the Savior, Jesus Christ?
Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet
Mary anoints Jesus’ feet as an acknowledgment of His coming death. Her act displays immense gratitude for and understanding of His mission as the Messiah. Jesus did not come to save the people from political freedom, as many had thought. Rather, He came to save them from something much more lasting: sin and death.
The troubles and trials we face in this life are brutal, but in the grand scheme of eternity, they are but a moment. What reflections do you draw from these last paintings of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet?
Eva has a gift for using her art to focus on sacred moments. As with her artwork illustrating Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, this next image takes us directly to the act of Mary anointing Christ’s feet. We can see the sheen of the oil and the soft curtain of her hair as she perhaps meditates on what is to come to her Savior and Redeemer whom she has come to love.
Mandy is known for her soft color palettes and textures. This beautiful piece of artwork is no different. Here the scene of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet is very peaceful. There is sorrow in Mary’s expression, but with her pink shawl and the gentle browns of her surroundings, the image invites us to pause and reflect on what Jesus’ sacrifice means for us. Mandy has simultaneously captured the sorrow of the event, but the hope of what will come.
Jorge Cocco’s art is filled with layers and symbolism. His cubism-like style, which he has termed “sacrocubism”, focuses less on the historical details of scriptural events and more on their sacred nature. Perhaps that is why, in this painting, most of the people in the background have been illustrated in blending tones of brown. Because of that, the focus goes immediately to Jesus and Mary, who have been colored with reds and blues.
However, the less noticeable tones do not make the individuals in the background any less significant. They help to tell the story too; Jorge’s piece also illustrates the courage it would have taken Mary to do something so personal for Jesus amid a large, and somewhat skeptical, crowd.