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Albrecht Dürer German, 1471
woodcut on laid paper 29.6 x 20.9 cm Purchased 1922
National Gallery of Canada (no. 2060)
The twelve-year-old Christ is seated on a throne before a lectern in the background where he debates with the doctors in the Temple as spectators gather in the foreground. To the left, an anxious Mary arrives to look for her son with Joseph half hidden by the column behind her. Although some depictions of the subject show Christ in a prominent position in the centre of the composition, Dürer conveys a greater sense of realism by decentralizing the principal characters and integrating them into a carefully drawn architectural setting with multiple figures ranging broadly in scale.