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Medieval Wall Painting
in the
English Parish Church

The Infancy and Early Life of Christ

Introduction and Links

Within this category belong scenes from the Nativity of Christ up to his Baptism. Scenes of his earthly ministry, such as the Miracles, are so rare as to be almost non-existent, but the Raising of Jairus’s daughter at Copford in Essex is now on the site, as are two miracle scenes from Brook in Kent. Like the Passion, scenes from Christ’s Infancy proper were often painted as a cycle, sometimes starting with the Annunciation or with even earlier legendary scenes from the Life of the Virgin (this is where scenes of her Life overlap with her Son’s) and continuing up to the Flight into Egypt. The Adoration of the Magi was one of the most popular subjects in the Cycle, as was the Massacre of the Innocents, which, like the scenes of cruelty within the Passion Cycle, was often unsparing in detail. Herod sometimes appears, brandishing his curved sword or falchion.

As a general rule though, Infancy Cycles have fared even worse than Passion Cycles when it comes to preservation. There are comparatively few left and none is complete.