Skip to main content
Mater Dolorosa
Workshop of Dirk Bouts
/

This small painting of the sorrowing Virgin once went with another painting in our collection, Christ Crowned with Thorns. They originally made up a diptych, a folding painting in two parts. It was probably intended for private prayer: the Virgin’s grief was intended to inspire empathy in the viewer, who was encouraged, like her, to meditate upon the suffering of Christ at the Passion (his torture and crucifixion). Many versions of this image survive. This one was probably made in Bouts’s workshop towards the end of his life.

Key facts
Artist Workshop of Dirk Bouts
Artist dates 1400? - 1475
Full title Mater Dolorosa
Series Diptych: Christ and the Virgin
Date made probably about 1470-5
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 36.8 x 27.9 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863
Inventory number NG711
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

Diptych: Christ and the Virgin

/

These two panels were once a diptych (a painting in two parts) showing Christ crowned with thorns and his mother, the Virgin, grieving (known as the Mater Dolorosa). Both the Virgin and Christ are shown close up, almost like portraits. Both are red-eyed and weeping, drawing them together emotionally. The frames (now lost) and figures both seem to cast shadows on the gold backgrounds.

Numerous versions of these paintings survive, most of rather poor quality. A more or less identical diptych (Louvre, Paris) was apparently painted in the same workshop, from tracings of the same pattern drawings.

;