2012: Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 22

by on December 22, 2012

Presentation at the Temple

Master of the Polling Panels

1444

Mixed technique on wood

This painting has the same subject as the scene from Melchior Broederlam’s Dijon Altarpiece that I used for the first day of this calendar.

The painter’s name is unknown, and so he is known by the name of one of his works. Like yesterday’s image, this is in mixed media, which would have been a combination of tempera and oils.

The artist has gone in for some degree of biblical accuracy, by depicting the Hebrew tablets of the law behind the altar, but other than that the scene happens in a Gothic architectural setting, similar to the upper and lower chapels of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. This kind of Gothic architecture was fashionable about 150 years before the panel was painted, and so the painter could be trying for a feeling of the scene being set in the past, but a past that his patron would have been more familiar with.

Behind the altar are figures of Moses and another prophet, whose promises have come true in the figure of Christ, who is himself held over the altar in reference to the eucharist. Joseph stands behind Mary and holds a pair of doves, their sacrifice at the temple (as we saw in Broederlam’s painting). St Simeon is on the left, fulfilling another prophecy by looking at the Christ Child.

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