National Gallery removes ‘antisemitic’ portrait from website ahead of exhibition
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

National Gallery removes ‘antisemitic’ portrait from website ahead of exhibition

National Gallery removes picture of Albrecht Dürer's Christ Among the Doctors from website over its 'antisemitic portrayal' before major exhibition.

The 1509 painting Christ Among the Doctors, by Alfred Durer, was removed from gallery's website ahead of new exhibition over antisemitic portrayal of Jews
The 1509 painting Christ Among the Doctors, by Alfred Durer, was removed from gallery's website ahead of new exhibition over antisemitic portrayal of Jews

The National Gallery has removed a picture of an artwork from an upcoming major exhibition from its website over its antisemitic portrayal of Jews.

Albrecht Dürer’s Christ Among the Doctors from 1509 depicts a story from the Gospel according to Luke of Jesus on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover, alongside an antisemitic caricature of Jewish men from synagogue.

The National Gallery had initially displayed the artwork prominently on its website advertising the upcoming exhibition without mentioning its ‘offensive’ portrayal of Jews.

After the gallery was alerted to the fact by Jewish News reader Ralph Harris, it removed the picture online and highlighted the antisemitic representation in its gallery.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware that the representation of the Doctors may cause offence and both the wall texts and the audio guide in the exhibition will acknowledge and address caricature and antisemitic portrayal in the painting.

“We have removed the image and accompanying text from our online gallery of selected exhibited works as we felt that in this format there was not adequate space for the interpretation required for this work.”

It had previously vowed to review any texts relating to works by Dürer in its exhibition, while saying: “We monitor on an ongoing basis our texts both online and in the Gallery relating to pictures in our temporary displays and exhibitions and permanent collection.”

The magazine Art Quarterly, which featured the image in its Spring 2021 issue without mentioning its antisemitic context, has also vowed to have “a more thorough check of both text and images in the future.”

Responding to the reader’s complaint in an email seen by Jewish News, editor Helen Sumpter said: “I am grateful that you have brought this to our attention, we are very mindful that historic works of art may illustrate values and viewpoints that are unacceptable today, and always aim to provide relevant context.”

According to the Gospel story, The Finding in The Temple, portrayed in the painting, Jesus “lingered” in the Temple, while Mary and Joseph headed home, only to find him three days later, engaged in discussion with the elders.

The National Gallery’s exhibition, Dürer’s Journeys: Travels of a Renaissance Artist, is to take place from November 20 to 27 February 2022.

It is the first major exhibition of Dürer’s work in the UK for nearly two decades.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments