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Roundel - Scenes from the Life of Abraham
  • Scenes from the Life of Abraham
    Vellert, Dirk Jacobsz
  • Enlarge image

Scenes from the Life of Abraham

  • Object:

    Roundel

  • Place of origin:

    Flanders (Made)

  • Date:

    1530s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vellert, Dirk Jacobsz (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stained glass with painted details

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with funds from the Murray Bequest

  • Museum number:

    C.122-1924

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case S2

Three independent but related scenes occur in this roundel, which relates the life of the Old Testament patriarch Abraham.

God appears in the centre to the sleeping Abraham. In the background on the right, they are talking of the covenant that God will establish with the Children of Israel. God promises Abraham that he will be the father of many nations.

In the left background, the covenant is sealed with the act of circumcision. Abraham is about to circumcise his eight-year-old son Ishmael, the son of his mistress Hagar. Sometimes this scene is portrayed with Abraham circumcising the infant Isaac, the son of his wife Sarah.

In Christian teaching, baptism in Christ replaces the act of circumcision.

Physical description

A composite picture representing three separate scenes in the life of Abraham. One scene shows the Institution of Circumcision, Abraham is in the act of circumcising his son Ishmael; this scene is represented within an architectural setting in the back left of the roundel. Another scene, in the right background, shows God appearing to Abraham and talking with him. The last scene takes place in the centre foreground and shows Abraham lying on the ground before God. These latter two scenes illustrate the establishment of the covenant between God and Abraham.
The whole is executed in silver stain and brown/black pigment on clear glass.

Place of Origin

Flanders (Made)

Date

1530s (made)

Artist/maker

Vellert, Dirk Jacobsz (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Stained glass with painted details

Dimensions

Diameter: 22.2 cm sight, Height: 26.2 cm framed, Width: 26.2 cm framed, Depth: 3.2 cm framed, Weight: 1 kg framed

Historical context note

Abraham, Old Testament Patriarch, is seen as the source of the relationship between the children of Israel and God (Jehovah). In the Gospel of Matthew, New Testament, Christ's lineage is traced back to Abraham. Circumcision was given by God to Abraham as a sign of the covenant between them. In the early Christian Church, leaders such as Paul discouraged the practice of circumsion. With the coming of Christ, salvation was through his law and no longer by the laws handed down to Abraham. Baptism in Christ replaces the act of circumcision in Christian thought.

Three independent but related scenes occur in this roundel relating the life of the Old Testament Patriarch Abraham.

God appears in the centre to the sleeping Abraham. In the background on the right, God and Abraham are talking of the establishment of the covenant between God and the children of Israel. Abraham is promised that he will be father to many nations.

In the left background, the covenant is sealed with the act of circumcision. Abraham is about to circumcise his 8 year-old son Ishmael. Sometimes this scene is portrayed with Abraham circumcising his infant son Isaac. Ishmael was the son of his mistress Hagar.

In Christian teaching, baptism in Christ replaces the act of circumcision.

Descriptive line

Stained and painted glass roundel depicting three scenes from the Life of Abraham. Made in the Netherlands, early 16th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Timothy Husband, The Luminous Image: Painted Glass Roundels in the Lowlands, 1480-1560, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1995
A.E. Popham, Apollo, vol.IX, no.51, p.156 (March, 1929)
Kurt Steinburt, "Nachlese im Werke des Jacob Cornelisz," Marburgerjahrbuch fur Kunsturissenschaft, V. 1929
A.E. Popham, Catalogue of Drawings by Dutch and Flemish Artist, British Museum, V, 1932
Genesis 17: 11
Genesis 17:1-3

Labels and date

SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM

On the right, Abraham is shown prostrate before God; on the left is the covenant of circumcision, where Abraham takes his son Ismael and other male children of his household to be circumcised (Genesis 17).

Netherlands (Amsterdam), about 1520-25; probably by Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen
Museum no. C.122-1924 [(PW) 2003]

Production Note

After an drawing by Jacob Cornelisz

Materials

Glass

Techniques

Painting; Silver staining

Categories

Stained Glass; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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