The Presentation in the Temple

Object Details

Title:

The Presentation in the Temple

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Byzantine

Date:

early 13th century - late 13th century

Medium:

Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 20.6 x 14.9 cm (8 1/8 x 5 7/8 in.)

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In this Byzantine Gospel book, the miniature of the Presentation in the Temple is placed in Saint Luke's Gospel, where the text describes the episode. It shows the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph bringing the month-old baby Jesus to the temple. This event has been celebrated as a major church holiday, called Hypapante, in the Eastern Church since the fourth century; hence the Greek inscription above.

In the miniature the Holy Family stands with Anna, an elderly prophetess. On the right, Simeon bows his head and leans toward them to take Jesus. A prophecy had foretold that Simeon, by this time very old, would see the Messiah before his death. The artist expressed Simeon's eagerness through the zigzag lines beneath his feet and his abrupt movement forward.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Gothic Manuscript Illumination: 1250-1375 (January 16 to March 13, 1985)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 16 to March 31, 1985
Heaven and Earth: Byzantine Illumination at the Cultural Crossroads (March 25 to June 22, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 25 to June 22, 2014