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Agnus Dei

Francisco de Zurbarán Spanish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 624

Francisco de Zurbarán transformed what first appears to be a simple still life into a powerful symbol of religious devotion. An innocent lamb tied in preparation for sacrifice represents the body of Christ, described in the Gospel of John as the "Lamb of God" who died in order to "take away the sins of the World." Early collectors, however, equally appreciated Zurbarán’s realism, as indicated by the account of "an art lover in Seville who has a lamb by this maker’s hand, painted from life, which he values more than one hundred living rams." Zurbarán’s innovative treatment of this subject proved successful, and multiple versions are known from the 1630s.

Agnus Dei, Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, Fuente de Cantos 1598–1664 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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