The Presentation in the Temple

The Virgin brings Christ to the Temple, as prescribed by Jewish law, with offerings of doves and money, for which Joseph reaches into his purse.

Christ is presented to Simeon, shown here in the robes of a Christian priest, who declares: 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace for mine eyes have seen thy salvation' (Luke 2). The woman in the turban to his right is the prophetess Anna, who also desired to see the Saviour.

The altarpiece behind Simeon shows scenes from the Old Testament which theologians associated with Christ's sacrifice. One of eight panels from an altarpiece of the Life of the Virgin, it was probably commissioned for St Ursula's church in Cologne.

Key facts

Artist dates
active second half of the 15th century
Full title
The Presentation in the Temple
Date made
probably about 1460-75
Medium and support
Oil on oak
83.8 x 108.6 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863
Inventory number
Location in Gallery