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Fitzwilliam bids to acquire weeping Virgin

Weeping Virgin

Published: 01st August 2014.

A remarkably realistic painted wood bust of the Mater Dolorosa (Virgin of Sorrows) by Pedro de Mena (1628-1688), one of the most celebrated sculptors of the Spanish Golden Age, has gone on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge as part of an appeal to acquire the sculpture.

Mesmerisingly beautiful and just under life size at 33.6cm tall, the Virgin of Sorrows’ gently furrowed brows, natural flesh tones, glass eyes and teardrops and eyelashes made from human hair, still elicit a powerful response from the viewer 350 years after it was made. It was most likely created for the private chapel, study or bedchamber of a devout patron, and would almost certainly have been protected under a glass dome and originally paired with a similarly-sized bust of the Ecce Homo (Christ as the Man of Sorrows).

The Fitzwilliam Museum has already raised a substantial amount towards the work (including £30,000 from the Art Fund and £10,000 from The Henry Moore Foundation) but needs to secure a further £85,000 by the end of September 2014 in order to acquire the remarkable bust.

The Virgin of Sorrows is on show in the Museum’s Spanish and Flemish Gallery, alongside other masterpieces by contemporary Baroque sculptors and painters.

Source: The Fitzwilliam Museum


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