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Gabriel Max

The Raising of Jairus' Daughter


Gabriel Max
Prague 1840 – Munich 1915


The Raising of Jairus' Daughter




Oil on canvas


123.3 x 180.4 cm


Gift of Lord Atholstan, inv. 1920.117


Western Art

When Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, implored Jesus to save his daughter, Jesus answered, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” Then he said to the girl, “Talitha cumi” (misspelled in the original frame), which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” In the stifling alcove occupied by the bed, the miracle occurs: the dead girl’s eyelids quiver, her cheeks flush, even as her cadaverous pallor and the macabre detail of the fly on her arm punctuate her recent brush with death. Gabriel Max, an esteemed painter and teacher who trained at the academies of Prague and Vienna, recalls Rembrandt and Caravaggio. Subtly blending Symbolism and Realism, this work combines the artist’s penchant for the occult and spiritism, on one hand, and science and natural history, on the other. Exhibited at the 1878 Exposition universelle in Paris, the painting was viewed as an attempt to revive grand-scale religious painting, then in decline.

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