By Anne Leader
Today, 15 September, marks the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (Beatae Mariae Virginis Perdolentis). Though not an official liturgical celebration until the 19th century, images of the Virgin Mary weeping, sometimes in conjunction with images of Christ on the way to Calvary, at the Crucifixion, or holding her dead Son, other times as a stand-alone figure, were popular beginning in the Renaissance as inspirations for devotion. The Mater dolorosa theme has been treated by a number of Italian artists, including Titian, Carlo Dolci, and Il Sassoferrato.
Titian, The Virgin Dolorosa with her Hands Clasped, 1554. Madrid: Museo del Prado
Titian, The Virgin Dolorosa with her Hands Apart, 1555. Madrid: Museo del Prado
Carlo Dolci, Mater Dolorosa, ca. 1655. Tokyo: National Museum of Western Art
Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato, The Madonna in Sorrow, 17th century. Florence: Uffizi