The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Circumcision
  • Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich (1712 - 1774)
  • The Circumcision
  • Germany
  • c. 1739 - 1774
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 44.7 x 63.2 cm
  • P153
  • East Galleries I
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • The Dresden painter Dietrich was known for his pastiches of Rembrandt and other painters of the 17th and 18th centuries. When he was a week old, the infant Christ was taken to the Temple, circumcised and given the name Jesus (Luke II, 21). Mosaic Law required the operation as a token of the Covenant. Here, Mary and Joseph are seen kneeling on the left, while the operation is performed on a platform in the centre. The empty chair on the right is the Chair of Elijah, on which the child would have been placed immediately before the ceremony, and the flame used to heat the knife can be seen dimly in the right background. Dietrich painted several synagogue scenes, including two versions of the Presentation in the Temple dated 1739 and 1740 (Dresden, Gemäldegalerie).