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Oil painting - The Return from the Christening
  • The Return from the Christening
    Salentin, Hubert, born 1822 - died 1910
  • Enlarge image

The Return from the Christening

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Düsseldorf (painted)

  • Date:

    1859 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Salentin, Hubert, born 1822 - died 1910 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John M. Parsons

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Hubert Salentin (1822-1910) was born in Zülpich. He became the pupil of Wilhelm Schadow (1788-1862), Carl Ferdinand Sohn (1805-1867), appointed Director of the Kunstakademie in 1826, and Adolph Tidemand (1814-1876) in Düsseldorf. He subsequently definitively settled in Düsseldorf where he specialised in genre paintings. He won a medal in Vienna in 1873.

This painting is a fine example of Salentin's genre scenes of the rustic life in West Germany. It depicts a young mother in traditional costume with her new born child in her arms leaving the church after the baptism. This painting is characteristic of the Düsseldorf school, one of the main artistic centres in 19th-century Germany, which favoured an extreme naturalness of representation and carefully staged compositions. The subject matter derived here from the Biedermeier painters who praised sentimental and anecdotal genre scenes.

Physical description

A young mother in traditional costume with her new born child in her arms on the threshold of a church, three children surround her while two persons are behind her.

Place of Origin

Düsseldorf (painted)


1859 (painted)


Salentin, Hubert, born 1822 - died 1910 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'Hubert Salentin Ddrf/1859'
Signed and dated by the artist, lower right


Height: 70.5 cm estimate, Width: 57.8 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Bequeathed by John M. Parsons, 1870

Historical significance: This composition may have proved particularly popular as Salentin produced 3 versions of it throughout the 1860s and an additional two set in a domestic interior:
- a very similar composition with a slight difference in the number of figures and in the mother's feature is dated 1860,
- another is dated 1869,
The other two versions set indoors are:
- one dated 1864 set in a domestic interior
- and another, a replica of the latter set in a church.
Apart from the V&A painting, all these works are currently in private collections. 515-1870 appears therefore the earliest version and prototype of the whole series.
This type of paintings were quite popular in the second half of the 19th century and constituted an interesting document of the German rustic life.

Historical context note

The term 'Biedermeier' refers to bourgeois life and art in Germanic Europe, an extensive area embracing such cities as Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna and Prague, from 1815 (the Congress of Vienna) to the revolutions of 1848. Biedermeier painters were ideologically opposed to academic and religious painting and favoured such subject matter as portraits, landscapes and genre scenes, with still-lifes, especially of flowers. They share a similar technique in the use of separate, clear tones and a high degree of finish, reminiscent of Neo-Classicism while they tend to convey a greater sentimentality. By the 1880s, the influence of this artistic movement was on the wane and was even used pejoratively to characterize the reactionary bourgeois elements in society, which remained quite indifferent to social problems and cultivated a sense of order and sobriety, especially in the private sphere and the domestic realm.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'The Return from the Christening', Hubert Salentin, German school, 1859

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

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900 , London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 91, cat. no. 196.
Neher, M., Hubert Salentin 1822 Zülpich -1910 Düsseldorf. Der Poet in der Düsseldorf Malerschule, Zülpich/Köhln, 2008, p. 142, 242, cat. no. 92.
Die Kunst für Alle, 7 (1891/92), p. 139.


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Genre scene; Mother; Church; Figures; Children


Paintings; Children & Childhood; Christianity


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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