Suffer the little children to come unto me

Ambrosius Francken Iaround 1600


Maastricht, Netherlands

Around 1600, Ambrosius I Francken, scion of a large and productive dynasty of painters, painted “Suffer the little children to come unto me”. Christ seated in the centre, surrounded by a large group of adults. On either side, two mothers are kneeling with their children. A further four figures are standing on the left-hand side, including two Jewish rabbis, identified by the Hebrew text on their hats. The text reads Isaiah, the prophet and son of the Old Testament king Amoz. Painted in the background is a classical city with a striking cylindrical temple, which is reminiscent of Bramante’s Tempietto in Rome. It is beyond question that Francken was inspired by highlights from the Italian Renaissance, as Raphael’s famous tapestry of the Miraculous Draught of Fishes, from the series Acts of the Apostels and Michelangelo’s monumental statue Madonna of Bruges.


  • Title: Suffer the little children to come unto me
  • Creator: Ambrosius I Francken
  • Date Created: around 1600
  • Physical Dimensions: 179 x 236 x 9 cm
  • Provenance: Loan Limburgs Geschied- en Oudkundig Genootschap. © Etiënne C.L. van Sloun/Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht
  • Medium: oil on panel

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