11. Presentation in the Temple

John August Swanson (1938- )
Serigraph
1988
21 x 7

In this complex scene recounting the Presentation are the gates, courtyard, steps, temple entrance, and
the dome. It is night and people are carrying their offerings of candles and doves. Mary and Joseph take
the child Jesus to the temple with the offering of two doves—the offering of the poorest. It was a symbol
of thanksgiving for their firstborn. At the entrance they meet Simeon and Anna, who are both old
and waiting and praying in the temple. They both approach the family and honor the newborn Jesus.
The walls have intricate carvings of narrative scenes. Angels open and guide the pathways and
entrances. In each of the towers’ windows is light to show the scholars working, reading, and copying
the scrolls. Mary and Joseph stand amazed at the two elders Anna and Simeon as they take the baby in
their arms. The city, with its turrets and towers, is in the background of the temple and over the city is
the star filled sky.

Luke 2: 21-3
21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had
given him before he had been conceived. 22When the time of their purification according to the Law
of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord", 24and
to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young
pigeons."

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for
the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy
Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into
the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the
Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29"Sovereign Lord, as you have
promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you
have prepared in the sight of all people, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your
people Israel." 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.

 
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