Circumcision (c.1494 – 1497) by Albrecht Durer

Circumcision - Albrecht Durer - c.1494 - 1497

Artwork Information

ArtistAlbrecht Durer
Datec.1494 - 1497
Art MovementNorthern Renaissance
Current LocationGemaldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany

About Circumcision

The artwork “Circumcision” by Albrecht Dürer, created between approximately 1494 and 1497, is a religious painting executed on panel during the Northern Renaissance. It is part of “The Seven Sorrows of Mary” series and is currently housed in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany.

In the painting, the scene of the circumcision of Christ is depicted with a rich attention to detail and vibrant color, characteristic of Dürer’s style. The central figure is the infant Jesus, who is held by a priest donned in elaborate liturgical vestments, including a mitre. To the priest’s right, we see Mary, the mother of Jesus, with a sorrowful expression, witnessing the event. She is surrounded by other figures that are part of the ceremony. The presence of Joseph is inferred, possibly as the character standing next to Mary.

The architecture and interior elements indicate the setting is an ecclesiastical space, and there is a dramatic interplay of light and shadow throughout the composition. The folds in the garments, the facial expressions, and the detailed accessories, like the decorated pitcher and basin in the foreground, all demonstrate Dürer’s skill in conveying texture and emotion, while also encapsulating the spiritual gravity of the biblical story.

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