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Presentation of Baby Jesus at the Temple by Plautilla Nelli

Presentation of Baby Jesus at the Temple by Plautilla Nelli

Presentation of Baby Jesus at the Temple

The story that inspired Plautilla Nelli's earliest work. The artist's precious miniature, found in Codex number 565, is inspired by the Gospel of Luke and depicts a scene from the childhood of Christ, namely his presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem. The purpose of this purification ceremony was to officially welcome the Baby Jesus into the Jewish religion. Known as the Feast of Candlemas, this episode is celebrated today in Christian churches worldwide as a sacred feast forty days after Christmas. The story of Christ's presentation at the Temple gave rise to a not-so-ancient tradition known as 'the churching of women' forty days after the birth of a child. According to this custom shared by Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans, the new mother receives a blessing for her speedy recovery after delivery. The ceremony includes prayers of thanksgiving for the mother's survival and is performed even if the baby is still-born or dies immediately after birth. In Nelli's miniature Simeon presides over the ceremony; he is remembered for having prophesied Christ's redemption of the world.

Music and 'marketing'

Scholars and art dealers made Nelli a student of Fra Bartolomeo.

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Conservator Simone Martini introduced us to this masterful craft.

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Plautilla Nelli's surviving 'secret' from within the walls of a Renaissance convent.