February 2019 News Perspective Online

The Art of Servant Leadership

A newly installed art display in Prothro Hall offers visitors a chance to contemplate the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, inviting consideration of how the ancient biblical story speaks to the here and now.

The display centers on a painting by Luke Allsbrook, the artist whose modern nativity scene has been on display in Prothro Hall for the past year and a half.  Titled “Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet,” the 2018 oil on canvas painting measures 68 inches by 80 inches and depicts the moving scene described in John 13. The piece is on loan from Allsbrook.

Next to the painting is a montage of photos of students, faculty and other members of the Perkins community involved in service projects in their churches and communities.

“The idea is to show the foot washing along with modern expressions of it, with photos of Perkins people actually engaged in acts of service, reflecting how that model is being lived out contemporaneously,” said Dean Craig Hill.

Hill added that he especially appreciates Allsbrook’s detailed depiction of the facial expressions of the disciples, who were dismayed and confused by Jesus’ actions.

“What readers of the Bible often miss about the story is its inherent scandal,” Hill said. “To wash someone’s feet was a public demonstration and confirmation of your low status, typically performed by the least important person in the household. Luke’s painting captures the disciples’ puzzlement and concern in a way that very few artists have. It is remarkably poignant and thought-provoking.”