About This Artwork

Abraham Bloemaert
Dutch, 1566-1651

The Circumcision, 1601

Pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash, heightened with white gouache, over black chalk, on buff laid paper, laid down on buff laid card
277 x 276 mm

Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg to the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection, 2013.897

In this dynamic drawing, Utrecht-based Abraham Bloemaert created a thoughtful compositional study for this scene from the early life of Christ. Bloemaert described the Virgin and the attendant figures in the foreground with expressive gestures—fingers spread and arms outstretched into space as if in an attempt to stop the circumcision taking place before them. A mass of faintly sketched figures in the background suggests how Bloemaert might have realized the composition in his next phase of execution.

— Exhibition label, The Thrill of the Chase: Drawings from the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection, March 15–June 15, 2013, Galleries 124–127.

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