The Circumcision

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C. 1520
Oak, original polychromy
28 cm
28 cm
6 cm

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The circumcision is mentioned in the Bible only once in the Gospel of Luke. Yet it was a popular theme among sculptors. Various retables have included this narrative element of circumcision. The circumcision occured eight days after the birth of a boy, this was replaced by baptism in Christianity.

This sculpture originally belonged to a larger altarpiece. It can be compared to the altarpiece of Elmpt, which depicts the Circumcision in the same dimensions and proportions in the bottom right-hand corner. Due to the original polychromy it is easy to see how the details contrast with each other due to different coloring.

The oak sculpture has its original polychromy. The Antwerp 'hand' mark is on the base between the feet of the Priest. Of much larger size is the Antwerp Circumcision from Berlin, which is from the same period. This sculpture depicts more figures and is more than twice the size and has lost its polychromy.


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