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Gregorio Preti: 'Christ disputing with the Doctors'

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The subject is taken from the New Testament (Luke 2). This recounts how the 12-year-old Christ stayed behind in Jerusalem unknown to his parents Mary and Joseph (seen in the centre background). When they returned to look for him they found Christ disputing with the doctors of the Temple who 'were astonished at his understanding and his answers'.

The painting was once thought to be by Mattia Preti, who had a successful career in Rome, Naples and Malta, but it has recently been attributed to his older brother, Gregorio.

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