Leonard Bramer

Dutch (1596–1674)

Christ Among the Doctors 

1640

Oil on wood

Extended loan from The Gilbert Family

TR 21.2015

Here, Jesus sits among the learned doctors of the Temple of Jerusalem, disputing questions of theology (Luke 2: 41-52). A standing elder peers down through spectacles, a familiar symbol in Netherlandish art of shortsightedness or stupidity.  Jesus’ worried parents, who have just discovered Him after a three-day search for the twelve year old, appear in the background.

Bramer was a competitor and emulator of Rembrandt. Here, his basic composition is similar to that in several prints by Rembrandt of the same biblical subject. This painting also recalls works by Jan Lievens, Rembrandt’s studio-mate.

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