Luca Giordano (Naples 1634 - Naples 1705)
Christ among the Doctors
Oil on canvas
221 x 302 cm
The episode portrayed in the painting is narrated in the Gospel of Luke (2, 41-50). Joseph and Mary, having lost young Jesus in Jerusalem, find him in the temple, where he is questioning the doctors on theological matters. The painting merges two moments of the episode: Jesus’ dispute with the doctors in the temple, and the finding of Jesus by Joseph and Mary, who appear in the background on the right. The composition rests on two visual focal points: the young Jesus seated on the right and the temple column, symbolizing the new faith in opposition to the old. Some of the doctors crowd around to listen in admiration and astonishment, while others express alarm as they compare Jesus’ words to those of the Holy Scriptures.