Christ disputing with the Doctors

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.

Key facts

Artist dates
1603 - 1672
Full title
Christ disputing with the Doctors
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
120 x 161.9 cm
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Mrs Alexander Lang Elder, 1899
Inventory number
Location in Gallery