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The Shadow of Death

Photo credit: Manchester Art Gallery

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The picture shows a carpenter's workshop. A youthful Christ, depicted as muscular and tanned, stands facing the front and stretching, with eyes gazing towards the sky. He is stripped to the waist with a white garment tied round his waist. The scene is bathed in the light of a late afternoon sun. Mary is to his left. She kneels on the floor of the workshop, She is opening a large chest filled with the gifts of the Magi, her head turned towards the back wall where the shadow of Christ is cast as a premonition of the Crucifixion. An array of tools in a wooden bracket mounted on the wall refer to the shape of the Cross. The workshop is filled with carpentry tools and other objects, most of which carry some symbolic significance or allude to a more complex narrative.

Manchester Art Gallery





oil on canvas


H 214.2 x W 168.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Thomas Agnew and Sons Ltd, 1883

Work type


Inscription description

Signed in monogram, dated and inscribed at right bottom corner: 18 Whh 70-3 / JERUSALEM


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Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M2 3JL England

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