Simeon takes the infant Christ in his arms. Etching by A. Smith.

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Bible. N.T. Luke 2.21. In Luke 2.25-35, Simeon is described as an old, devout man "waiting for the consolation of Israel" (in later iconographic tradition he is identified with the high priest of the Temple) who is told by the Holy Spirit that he will see the saviour before he dies. In this scene he looks upon the infant herald of Christianity and utters 'Nunc dimittis'; now he can die. Death and birth and the relations of Christianity to Judaism resonate in this scene

Although entitled 'Christ's circumcision', the print deals with events after this. Joseph holds the gift to the Temple of two turtledoves for the purification of Mary (Luke (2.22) indicates the simultaneous incidence of the end of "her days of purification" and the presentation of Jesus) Anna the prophetess points in a gesture of prophecy behind Mary. A woman on the ground holds out a hand; a child rests in her lap, looking towards the viewer - he holds a small ball in his hand, similar to the apple held by Jesus the redeemer

Physical description

1 print : etching ; platemark 28.1 x 18 cm


Christ's circumcision. Luke chap. 2d. Ver 28th. Then took he Him up in his arms and blessed God and said &c. A. Smith sculp.


Wellcome Collection 22011i



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