Possibly a museum in Breslau (now Wroclaw). (Charles de Burlet, Berlin, 1916); Dr. Otto Fröhlich, Vienna, 1916; sold to Stefan Auspitz [1869-1945], Vienna, until 1931. (Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc., New York, owned jointly with Pinakos, Inc. [Rudolf Heinemann], by 1951); purchased 1951 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 by exchange to NGA.
The original support is composed of two pieces of wood with vertically oriented grain. A triangular inset at the top left corner and a strip along the bottom, 1.5-2 cm in height, are not original. The panel has been thinned, mounted on hardboard with a mahogany veneer, and cradled. Strips of wood were added to all sides. There is no indication of a barbe in the thin, striated ground or of an original edge. Examination with infrared reflectography disclosed an underdrawn grid in a thick line laid in over the ground in what appears to be a liquid material. The figures and landscape are underdrawn in a liquid medium in a free, sketchy manner. Infrared reflectography also indicates changes in the figure of Longinus: in an earlier state the right leg was apparently thinner and more sharply bent and the torso may have been smaller or thinner. At the bottom of the panel, near Longinus' right boot and the hem of the Magdalene's robe, a series of male heads is visible in the x-radiograph as well as in infrared reflectography and to a much lesser extent as pentimenti. This area is covered with cracked and abraded overpaint that was applied considerably later than the original layer. The deepest shadows of the Virgin's robe are thickly painted.
The painting is abraded throughout, and the heaviest subsequent inpainting is located in the armor of Longinus, in Christ's face and hair, and to the right of the Magdalene's back. The added pieces at the bottom and upper left corner are repainted. The area from Longinus' right boot across the bottom of the Magdalene's dress continuing along the ground is repainted.
 The wood was identified as poplar by Mario Modestini in or before 1953, almost certainly on the basis of a visual examination.
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection Acquired by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 1951-56. Introduction by John Walker, text by William E. Suida and Fern Rusk Shapley. National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1956: 84-86, no. 30, repro., as by German Master.
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 314, repro., as by German Master.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 57, as German School.
- European Paintings and Sculpture: Illustrations (Companion to the Summary Catalogue, 1965). Washington, 1968: 49, no. 1163, repro., as German School.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 150, repro., as German School.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 151, no. 165, repro.
- Eisler, Colin. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian. Oxford, 1977: 43, fig. 41, as German School, Second Half of XVI Century.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 151, no. 160, color repro.color repro., as by German School.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 29, repro., as Anonymous German 16th Century.
- Rapp, Jürgen. "Das Ligsalz-Epitaph des Münchner Renaissancemalers Hans Mielich." Anzeiger des Germanischen Nationalmuseums (1987): 163, 164-165, fig. 4a, 166.
- Rapp, Jürgen. "Kreuzigung und Höllenfahrt Christi: Zwei Gemälde von Hans Mielich in der National Gallery of Art, Washington." Anzeiger des Germanischen Nationalmuseums (1990): 65-96, color fig. 1, fig. 17.
- Hand, John Oliver, with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1993: 152-159, color repro. 153.
- Löcher, Kurt. Review of German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, by John Oliver Hand with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. Kunstchronik 43 no. 1 (January 1995): 19.
- Alsteens, Stijn. "Hans Mielich. 'The Circumcision of Christ'." In Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400-1700, edited by Stijn Alsteens and Freda Spyra. Exh. cat. New York, 2012. New York, 2012: 91, note 5.