The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin

Simon Beningabout 1525–1530

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

In the center of the miniature, the Virgin sits on the ground with seven swords piercing her, each symbolizing one of the events related to Christ that brought her sorrow. The theme of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin was meant to draw the viewer into Mary's thoughts and feelings as she reflected on her son's life and death. Moving clockwise from the bottom right around the central image, small narrative scenes represent the seven episodes: the Presentation in the Temple, the Flight into Egypt, the Dispute in the Temple, the Way to Calvary, the Crucifixion, the Lamentation, and the Entombment.


  • Title: The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin
  • Creator: Simon Bening
  • Date Created: about 1525–1530
  • Location Created: Bruges, Belgium
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 16.8 × 11.4 cm (6 5/8 × 4 1/2 in.)
  • Type: Folio
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 83.ML.115.251v
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig IX 19, fol. 251v
  • Creator Display Name: Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)
  • Classification: Manuscripts (Documents)

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