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The Virgin's suitors

  • "The Virgin's suitors" Diocesan Art Museum, Palencia © Antonio Rubio. Museo Diocesano de Palencia

    "The Virgin's suitors" Diocesan Art Museum, Palencia © Antonio Rubio. Museo Diocesano de Palencia





Around 1485-1490.

Original title

Los pretendientes de la Virgen
Diocesan Art Museum
Palencia, Castile-Leon

The painter Pedro Berruguete depicts a tale of the Virgin Mary prior to the birth of Christ.

The scene is inspired on one of the narratives in the apocryphal gospel that Santiago de la Vorágine included in his "Golden Legend" in the Middle Ages. It tells how, at the age of 14, Mary is commanded by the high priest to leave the temple and marry, which she refuses to do due to her vow of chastity. The painting shows the Virgin accompanied by four young men, the high priest and various suitors.

Among other elements, the painting is outstanding for its meticulous study of faces and hands, as well as for the rich and vivid colours of the cloth, a copy of the late 15th-century fabrics used in religious ceremonies, at court, and among the nobility. The gold panel in the background, a sign of divinity, is typical of the medieval tradition.

Details of the work

Church of Santa Eugenia de Frechilla (Palencia)


121 x 103 cm




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