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Encounters is the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza’s contribution to the programme of events to be held in Madrid on World Youth Day 2011. The exhibition features a selection of nine paintings from the Museum’s collection of Old Masters illustrating scenes from Christ’s childhood to his appearances after the Resurrection. The canvases and panels assembled for this occasion are the work of eminent painters of schools from both north—Flemish, Dutch and German—and south—particularly the Italian school—who were active between the 14th and 18th century and whose styles faithfully reflect the art movements which shaped their careers.

The first encounter, Jesus among the Doctors [cat. 2], is set in the temple during Christ’s childhood and serves as a fine example of the work of the German master Albrecht Dürer, who made Christ the focal point of this composition, paying special attention to the expressiveness of the hands. The Saviour’s “public life” is illustrated in a number of scenes, one being The Calling of Saint Matthew [cat. 3] by Marinus van Reymerswaele, who created an excellent still life with objects associated with the apostle’s occupation of tax collector.

small panel [cat. 1] originally from the predella of the Maestà altar in the Duomo, Siena, but also in Il Guercino’s canvas [cat. 6], whose focal point are the two figures talking at the well. The Dutch artist Aert de Gelder’s Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery [cat. 7] is set in the Temple of Jerusalem depicted by the artist with huge proportions. Of the miracles, the storm calmed over the Sea of Galilee is interpreted with great realism in Jan Brueghel’s oil on copper panel [cat. 4], whose surface masterfully captures both wind and troubled waters, while Gian Paolo Panini set his painting of the healing of the paralysed man at Capernaum [cat. 9] in superb Classical architectural surroundings. By the same artist and regarded as the companion piece to the previous painting, The Expulsion of the Money-changers from the Temple [cat. 8] depicts an event leading up to the Passion. Finally, among the scenes of Jesus’s appearances, for his canvas The Supper at Emmaus [cat. 5] Matthias Stom chose the moment when Christ revealed himself to the disciples after blessing and breaking the bread.