(b. ca. 1454, Perugia, d. 1513, Siena)

Christ among the Doctors

Collegiata di Santa Maria Maggiore, Spello

The most unusual painting in the chapel is the one of Jesus disputing with the scribes in the Temple, commonly known as Christ among the Doctors. This event is reckoned among the seven sorrows of the Virgin, and for that reason it is clear that the selection of scenes for the chapel was based on the fact that she served as its patron.

The debate takes place on a broad square in front of an imposing centric structure representing the Temple in Jerusalem, which is where the gospel of St Luke tells us the confrontation took place. The setting is reminiscent of Perugino's depiction of Christ surrendering the keys to Peter in the Sistine Chapel.

Christ stands on the central axis of the composition, his books scattered on the pavement in front of him. By contrast, the richly dressed scholars either clutch their books close to their chests or read aloud from them.