Christ Returning from the Temple with his Parents, 1654

Christ Returning from the Temple with his Parents etching depicts the twelve-year-old Christ returning to Jerusalem from the temple with his parents. The mood is inevitably less sombre, if still serious, with one of Rembrandt's beloved mongrels in attendance to hurry the proceedings along.

Although the Holy Family's return from Egypt had occasionally provided a subject for artists - among them Barocci, Rubens and Jordaens - their return from the temple with a near-teenage son was scarcely known before (or after) Rembrandt. Rarely depicted, devoid of import, and barely mentioned in the Bible, it is Rembrandt's only surviving depiction of this theme, and another of his fugitive and endearing glimpses of family life, done in the year of Hendrickje's summons, the birth of his daughter - and when he also had a twelve-yearold son.