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The Circumcision

Reference URL

Not on display

In accordance with the Law of Moses, the infant Jesus was taken to the temple to be circumcised and named when he was eight days old. Here Brusascorci shows the child passively submitting to the operation while Joseph supports him, and the Virgin Mary kneels close-by before the altar. The event was significant as it was the first time that Christ shed blood. Brusascorci has filled his scene with spectators, even although there is no account of their presence in the Bible. The drawing is highly finished with particularly dark outlines used to define the figures. No painting of this subject by Brusascorci has been traced. The date 1547 is inscribed on the lower step beneath the Virgin’s left foot.


  • Acc. No. D 3077
  • Medium Pen, black ink and brown wash, heightened with white on prepared paper, laid down
  • Size 32.70 x 25.20 cm
  • Credit William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881