Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Circumcision

Title: The Circumcision
Artist: Giulio Romano
Medium: oil on wood transferred to canvas
Size: 15 x 122 cm
Date: c. 1515
Location: Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Luke 2:21: When the child was eight days old, he was circumcised. At the same time he was named Jesus. This was the name the angel had given him before his mother became pregnant.

Reflecting the piety of obedient Jewish parents, Joseph and Mary undertake to circumcise the child on the eighth day and give him the name the angel said he should possess, Jesus. In every action this couple is showing faithfulness. They are examples of faith. As devout Jewish parents, they follow the Mosaic law. It is because Christ was circumcised that the Gentile Christian no longer needs circumcision. In the words of St. Ambrose: "Since the price has been paid for all after Christ . . . suffered, there is no longer need for the blood of each individual to be shed by circumcision."

Giulio Romano (c. 1499 –November 1546) was an Italian painter and architect. A pupil of Raphael, his stylistic deviations from high Renaissance classicism help define the 16th-century style known as Mannerism. In his native city, as a young assistant in Raphael's studio, he worked on the frescoes in the Vatican loggias to designs by Raphael and in Raphael's Stanze in the Vatican painted a group of figures in the Fire in the Borgo fresco. After the Sack of Rome in 1527 and the death of Leo X, artistic patronage in Rome slackened. He traveled to France in the first half of the 16th century and brought concepts of the Italian style to the French court of Francis I.

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