DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin: Mother of Sorrows

c. 1496
Oil on pine panel, 109,2 x 43,3 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

This panel is a monumental picture depicting Mary as the Mother of Sorrows. It was severely damaged in an attack when acid was thrown at it in 1988, and ten years have been spent restoring it. It is the central picture of the seven scenes from the Passion which are in the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden. The work was presumably ordered by Elector Frederick the Wise for the Wittenberg university chapel. Mary's arms are crossed and she is looking up in suffering, while a sword that is threateningly close to her heart is approaching, a symbol of her agonizing pain caused by the sufferings of Christ, narrated on either side in the scenes from the Passion. As a sign of her virginity, Mary is wearing a white cloth and a heavy blue garment, the colour which refers to her status as the Queen of Heaven.