Christ Blessing the Children (Christus zegent de kinderen) Artemisia Gentileschi Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Christ Blessing the Children, also known as Christus zegent de kinderen, is an artwork owned by the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands which some have attributed to Italian Baroque painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.

We do know that she definitely completed another piece on this topic, but the compositions of the two are entirely different. In that version only Christ is shown, where as the version in the Netherlands features a huge number of figures, most of whom were children.

Artemisia did use Christian themes within her work many times, and so the subject feels entirely plausible for her. There was also variations in her styles as she developed as an artist, partly inspired by her relocations around Italy, which brought new influences into her work.


The museum that host this piece have dated it to around circa 1570, whereas Artemisia Gentileschi actually passed away in 1653. They clearly do not, therefore, accept her as its creator, but others have put forward her name for this piece.

In recent years there has been a number of artworks added to her oeuvre which were either discovered for the first time, or simply re-evaluated having initally been attributed to someone else. It is entirely accepted that many of her paintings were deliberately assigned to male artists shortly after her passing in order to increae their valuations.

It must also be remembered that the Riksmuseum employs some of the finest experts in the world, and therefore can be trusted on their current evaluation of this piece. It is therefore open to discussion on who actually created this piece, with many names having been put forward over the centuries.


We find Christ being presented with a child as he sits patiently on a tiled floor. We see some grand buildings in the background, to the right, through an opening in the wall. This allows light to flood in, with the rest of the room left in near darkness. Most of the figures around Christ are mothers with their children, all seemingly wishing to have their offspring blessed.

Whilst Artemisia changed her style across her career, this piece does not natually fit into her oeuvre. There are many elements that fit, such as the lighting, but many others that do not. That said, we will leave it up to the experts to ultimately conclude on the source of this painting, which itself is beautifully delivered in its own right.

Large Image

See below for a larger image of the original painting, allowing us to look deeper into just who may have created it back in the 17th century. It also remains in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, but check ahead if you want to see it in person, as the collection is regularly rotated and this is not considered one of its biggest highlights.

Christ Blessing the Children (Christus zegent de kinderen) in Detail Artemisia Gentileschi