Bust of the Virgin

Accession Number

Bust of the Virgin

Bartolomeo Coriolano

Artist Nationality
Italian (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
17th century

Medium & Support
chiaroscuro woodcut on laid paper

6 1/4 in. x 5 in. ( 15.8 cm x 12.7 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of J. Frederick Hoffman

Subject matter
This intimate portrait of the Virgin Mary notably omits the infant Christ and instead focuses upon her alone. The close looking demanded by the small scale of the print augments this emphasis, as does the series of concentric circular shapes created by the frame and halos that direct attention toward her face. Many a devout Christian in the period prayed to the Virgin as a protectress who would intercede on their behalf with Christ and God and appeal for mercy. As a reproducible and relatively inexpensive image, this small and skillfully-wrought print was thus designed to fulfill widespread devotional needs.

Physical Description
This small print depicts a bust-length portrait of a woman within an oval frame. She turns slightly to her left and gazes downward. A bright halo encircles her head.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
chiaroscuro woodcut

Collection Area

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chiaroscuro woodcuts
halos (glories)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved