Presentation in the temple
- Jewish law requires that male children be circumcised eight days after birth, that mothers engage in a purification rite 40 days after the delivery, and that the firstborn be presented to the temple and consecrated to God. Scenes of Christ's Presentation in the Temple sometimes conflate these events into one. In Melchior Broederlam's Presentation in the Dijon Altarpiece (1394-1399; Dijon, Musée des Beaux-Arts), the Virgin Mary hands over the Christ Child to the prophet Simeon who welcomes him into the temple and recognizes him as the Messiah, while a female on the right holds a basket with the two doves required as offering for the purification. In Stephan Lochner's Presentation (1447; Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum), the Virgin herself holds the doves while Simeon places the Christ Child on the altar to denote his future sacrifice. Other presentations to the temple include Jan van Scorel's version (c. 1530-1535; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum), where Simeon kisses the Christ Child as he lowers him onto the altar, and Ambrogio Lorenzetti's (1342; Florence, Uffizi), where the prophetess Anna, who also recognized Christ's divinity, points to the child and holds the scroll that records her prophecy.
Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. Lilian H. Zirpolo. 2008.
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