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After Bernardino Luini, Christ

Key facts
Full title Christ
Artist After Bernardino Luini
Artist dates about 1480 - 1532
Date made probably after 1530
Medium and support Oil on poplar
Dimensions 73.7 × 57.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by the Misses Cohen as part of the John Samuel collection, 1906
Inventory number NG2088
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
After Bernardino Luini

This is a copy of the central figure of Christ from Luini’s Christ Among the Doctors, also in National Gallery’s collection. Luini’s composition may be based on an original design by Leonardo.

At the age of 12, Jesus was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem by Mary and Joseph, who became accidentally separated from him. They found him three days later debating learnedly with the theologians there (Luke 2: 41). Jesus looks at us serenely as he counts the points of his argument off on his fingers. The picture is sometimes thought to be the adult Christ disputing with the Pharisees, as his beard suggests he is older than 12.

This copy does not seem to be contemporary with Luini’s original painting. The artist’s work was venerated and copied for a century or more after his death, and this popular composition was copied in multiple versions by many different artists.

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