Vasily Polenov, Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery, 1888. Oil on canvas, Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.
Vasily Polenov (1844-1927) was a member of group of realist painters known as the Peredvizhniki, or the Wanderers, who opposed the restrictions of the academy. From 1881-1882, Polenov did a series of sketches of the Middle East and Rome that formed the foundation for his biblical paintings in the 1880s. Polonev’s primary interest was landscape in a plein-air style, which you can see here through his treatment of light and the emphasis on the texture of the stone and the landscape at the top right. Christ, shrouded in lemony light, stands before the scribes and Pharisees, clearly right in the middle of the confrontation.