Object Image

The Circumcision

Following Jewish tradition, Christ was circumcised when he was eight days old (Luke 2: 21). Seated on his mother's lap, Christ reaches out to the mohel, the man who will perform the surgery, who holds a fine blade. The vibrantly coloured marble floor tiles are designed to attract the viewer's attention, and the white borders lead their sight towards the central focus of the image, the infant Christ.

The subject was chosen by the patrons, the Confraternity of the Holy Name of Jesus, who were connected with the church of San Francesco, Volterra. The scene was an appropriate focus for their devotion, as it was when the infant Christ was named Jesus.

Christ as we see him now is the invention of a...

c. 1490-1
Oil on canvas, mounted on board, transferred from wood
258.5 x 180.0cm
NG1128
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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