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The Circumcision of Christ
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The Circumcision of Christ

Description Provenance Credit
Description This is a close copy of a painting by Garofalo now at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The Louvre panel is from the predella (base) of an altarpiece depicting the "Massacre of the Innocents" painted by Garofalo in 1519 for the church of San Francesco in his native Ferrara. The Walters panel is one of the many variants produced in the artist's workshop soon after the original. The sketchy quality of some of the draperies and onlookers suggests it is unfinished. The infant Christ sits on the lap of an old woman while the Jewish high priest performs the circumcision. The young woman immediately behind him is likely the Virgin Mary (this figure has a halo in the Louvre version). Saint Joseph is probably the bearded man behind the priest. According to Jewish tradition, circumcision is performed eight days after a baby’s birth and is the moment where the child officially receives his name. Christianity accords a particular importance to Christ's circumcision since it was the occasion on which he first drew blood. It therefore foreshadowed of his future death at the crucifixion.
Provenance Marquess Filippo Marignoli, Rome and Spoleto, until 1898 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Marquess Francesco Marignoli, 1898 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, 1899 [mode of acquisition unknown] [1900 catalogue supplement: no. 62 bis, as Garofalo]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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soon after 1519 (Renaissance)
oil on wood panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H: 14 3/4 x W: 20 13/16 x D excluding cradle: 3/8 in. (37.4 x 52.9 x 0.9 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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