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This picture shows the twelve year old Jesus being carried back to Nazareth. This happened after Joseph and Mary had returned to Jerusalem and found Jesus with the elders in the Temple. The artist used chapter 2 of the Gospel according to St Luke as his source. Like other works by Dobson, this picture reflects the time he spent with the German Nazarene artists in Germany and Italy during the 1840s and 1850s. The Nazarene style was characterized by a fairly vigorous handling of gesture and design. This was to influence the Pre- Raphaelites. Dobson avoided the censure which greeted these artists because his characterization was diluted, as here, by a degree of sentimentalization.

August 2004