The Circumcision


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 15

Made for the Kreuzbrüder ("Crutched Friars") in or near Cologne, this Circumcision scene is set in an architectural interior illuminated by blank glazings and paved with tiles of geometric ornament. A mitred high priest sitting on a throne supports the Christ child on his lap with a draped hand. Two male figures kneel before him. The elder -- bald, bearded and dressed in rich robes -- holds a knife in his right hand as he initiates the circumcision. His young assistant, graced with golden curls but more modestly attired, holds a broad metalwork charger. The glance and gesture of the Christ child identifies the standing female in a white wimple and robes of blue as his mother, the Virgin, who witnesses the event. The cool palette underscores the solemnity of the rite.

The Circumcision, Pot metal glass and vitreous paint, German

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