“The Boy Jesus in the Temple” by Hofmann (Five Photos, Five Stories #3)

A young adolescent Jesus in white robes is shown at the center of a group of wizened, bearded old men who appear to be appraising him.

jesus.sorrow The family spent a couple days at this this inn on the Catskill Mountains during the school break after Easter. It was a nice place. There were several pictures, paintings of scenery of the area, a still life or two, and the like.

But right outside our room was an outlier, a painting that looked terribly familiar, something like the one above. This intrigued me, for – and memory is a tricky thing – I believe my maternal grandmother had a reproduction of it in her house. Something quite memorable about that representation of Jesus.

Heinrich Hofmann’s religious works are filled with the deep faith that inspired his life and creativity.
Painting subjects from literature and mythology, Hofmann (1824 – 1911) is most famous for his paintings of Christ’s life… Before painting any scene depicting Christ, Hofmann would intently study the Bible. He was adamant that anyone who was not moved to their innermost core while painting religious subjects was not capable of the task.

Thing is, I can’t remember if the picture in Grandma Williams’ house was in color, as painted, or black & white, like the one at the inn. Did it include the whole image, or cropped to highlight the Jesus character?
This painting of “The Boy Jesus in the Temple” was so noteworthy that it was photographed by one C.C. (Charles C.) Pierce (1861-1946)

Photograph of the painting…. A young adolescent in white robes is shown at the center of a group of wizened, bearded old men who appear to be appraising him.

In the left foreground, one is seated with at book, two other standing next to him making quizzical gestures. To the left, a fourth man holds his hand to his chin and a scroll on his hip. Farther back a fifth man without a beard can just barely be seen.

Other titles given for this painting are “Christ in the Temple” or “Jesus at Twelve”. The picture file card reads “The scripture passage for this subject is Luke 2:46-47”.

46 After three days they [Mary and Joseph] found him [Jesus] in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Is this picture familiar to any of you, and, if so, in what version?
Note: I have been nominated by my buddy Lisa over at Peripheral Perceptions to participate in the Five Photos, Five Stories meme, which simply says I should post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.

The problem is that almost all my posts are stories and have pictures. So I’m cheating and writing only one new post. And I’m nominating YOU!

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

6 thoughts on ““The Boy Jesus in the Temple” by Hofmann (Five Photos, Five Stories #3)”

  1. As far as I can remember, which isn’t much, I’ve never seen that particular picture before. I have no idea whether that’s because I never saw it, I’ve forgotten it (quite possible!), or if it’s because it has no meaning whatsoever for me now.

  2. Yes! I definitely remember that image in several places. I’m almost certain that was in my Catholic aunt’s big, fancy Bible. It contained a lot of illustrations of classical paintings based on the stories.

    I remember that picture in particular because it strongly impacted my view of Jesus. I saw Him as a scholar, teacher and a prodigy, which has been an important image of Him in my adult life.

  3. I purchased this picture and Christ and the rich ruler at a yard sale. My pictures are 15″ X 19″ and are very old. A metal placard on one of the pictures states ” J M Hoffman, presented by Norwood Lodge # 576 F&AM

  4. It would be interesting to analyze what part of Jerusalem society each figure in the painting represents

  5. i have a painting of this.Can you tell me what year it was painted and what if any value it would have.
    On bottom of painting in block letters is CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE.

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