According to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin. The cherubs here carry emblems associated with the Virgin, including the olive, palm, rose, iris, a mirror and lilies. The throne at the top of the background staircase probably represents the throne of Solomon, the Old Testament King of Israel. Much of the imagery associated with the Immaculate Conception was derived from the Old Testament Song of Songs, once attributed to Solomon.

The identity of the donors is unknown. The man may be a canon or city official; the woman appears to be in mourning dress.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1622 - 1690
Full title
The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, with Two Donors
Date made
probably 1661
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
189.7 x 204.5 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1889
Inventory number
NG1291
Location in Gallery