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In the Gallery – Girolamo Giovenone: Christ Among the Doctors



Written by Allie Gloe, Curatorial Intern 

Girolamo Giovenone (Italian, 1487 – 1555), Christ Among the Doctors (Disputa al Tempio), 1513, tempera on panel, 73 1/4 x 40 11/16 in., Museum Purchase, AP.1981.1.1.

“Christ Among the Doctors,” also known as “The Finding in the Temple,” is a passage from the Gospel of Luke and is a scene from the early life of Christ. Frequently depicted in art, this scene occurs at a temple in Jerusalem, where Mary and Joseph have accompanied twelve-year-old Jesus on a pilgrimage to celebrate Passover. Mary and Joseph lose sight of Jesus as he strays off in the temple and assume he has begun his travel back home. When they realize he never left the temple, they return to search for Jesus and find him three days later, taking part in a discussion among “doctors,” who are all impressed by his knowledge and understanding.

Gerolamo Giovenone painted several religious scenes throughout his career and Christ Among the Doctors is one of the rare works signed and dated by the artist. He was born in Northern Italy, where he spent most of his painting career during the Early Renaissance. In his interpretation of Christ Among the Doctors, Christ is seated on an elevated chair, which is stationed on a platform. The doctors, or educators, surround him just as students do, as they read from their scrolls and books, or hold their hands to their mouths in contemplation. Christ holds out his hand as a gesture to express his conversation and looks at Mary who enters the scene at the right.

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