The Coronation of the Virgin

The painting probably dates from shortly before Rottenhammer's move from Rome to Venice, about 1595/6, and is mentioned by his biographer, Carel van Mander (1604), who describes it as the first work to have brought fame to the painter.

This meticulously executed work is exceptionally large for a painting on copper and unusually comprehensive in subject matter. The main figures of the lowest tier of the composition are Saint Lawrence with martyr's palm and stone (right), and Saint Jerome with his lion (left), accompanied by the other Latin Fathers of the Church. The Virgin at the top is crowned by Christ and God the Father, with Adam and Eve immediately below. Saints Peter and presumably Paul (left and right) are accompanied by Old Testament figures, including Abraham, with drawn sword, Isaac carrying wood (left), and Moses with the Tablets of the Law (right).

The bearded figure looking out towards the spectator is presumably a portrait of the commissioner of the painting, probably Camillo Borghese, who became a cardinal in 1596 and pope, as Paul V, in 1605.

Key facts

Artist dates
1564 - 1625
Full title
The Coronation of the Virgin
Date made
probably 1596-1606
Medium and support
Oil on copper
92.7 x 63.5 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1983
Inventory number
Location in Gallery