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The Circumcision

after Hendrik Goltzius (Mulbrecht 1558 – Haarlem 1617).

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1607 (bears date)

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

1981 x 1346 mm (78 x 53 in)

Place of origin

Flanders (Belgium from 1830)

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Collection

Kingston Lacy Estate, Dorset (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Kingston Lacy Estate, Dorset, South West, National Trust

NT 1257176

Caption

Christ was circumcised according the Jewish tradition, on the eighth day following the birth. Here, the High Priest holds the child and another prepares to perform the act. The is the moment when Christ’s blood was first shed and his father named him Jesus. It has been copied from an engraving done in imitation of Dürer, but with Goltzius’s signature suppressed, and the date changed from 1594 to 1607.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, The Circumcision, after Hendrik Goltzius (Mulbrecht 1558 – Haarlem 1617), 1607. Described in the biblical gospel of Luke (2:15-21) and in accordance with the Jewish law of Moses, the infant was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem to be circumcised and named Jesus (saviour) when he was eight days old (January 1).The event was significant as it was the first time that Christ shed blood (beginning of the redemption of man). This is a painted copy, dated 1607, after a 1594 engraving, the fourth in a series of six of the Life of the Virgin by the virtuoso Haarlem printmaker Hendrik Goltzius. It shows the naked Christ child submitting to the operation in a side chapel in the church of St Bavo, Haarlem. He is held by the seated High Priest whilst another (the mohel), wearing spectacles, sits on a lower stool and prepares with the knife. Joseph and Mary stand amid other onlookers on the left. The self-portrait of the artist from the original print is included, between the columns behind the priest on the right and looking out at the viewer.

Provenance

First recorded in 1731 and probably acquired by Henry Bankes the Elder (1698-1776) (as 18th-century frame suggests) and ascribed by him to 'Old Franks'; bequeathed to the National Trust by (Henry John) Ralph Bankes, Esq. (1902-1981) together with the estate and entire contents of Kingston Lacy

Credit line

Kingston Lacy, The Bankes Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

after Hendrik Goltzius (Mulbrecht 1558 – Haarlem 1617)., artist previously catalogued as after Albrecht Dürer (Nuremberg 1471 – Nuremberg 1528), artist possibly Frans Francken I (Herentals 1542 - Antwerp 1616), artist

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