Purification of the TempleThe Purification of the Temple, also known as the Cleansing of the Temple, is recounted with variations in all four Gospels. Christ saw that the temple in Jerusalem had been turned into a marketplace by traders and moneylenders and he drove them out of the building with a whip (Matthew 21: 12-13; Mark 11: 15-18; Luke 19: 45-6; John 2: 14-17).
The traders are usually depicted cowering as Jesus strikes them. In the version of the event by El Greco in the Collection ('Christ driving the Traders from the Temple'), the Expulsion of Adam and Eve, a subject which reflects the theme of the Purification, is depicted as a relief in the background.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN