The Young Virgin

Francisco de Zurbarán Spanish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 624

According to a medieval legend, the Virgin Mary lived in the Temple in Jerusalem as a child, where she devoted herself to praying and sewing vestments. Paintings such as this served as models for young girls’ ideal behavior, encouraging them to be devout and keep busy with household tasks. Mary’s impossibly large, upturned eyes are met with heaven’s blessing through ethereal angels. The success of this work owes to Zurbarán’s originality as a still-life painter. With methodically individuated, simple forms, he established a powerful visual impact as much through his calculated use of empty, in-between spaces as through the objects themselves. Although set in a biblical context, it includes objects from contemporary Seville, including the pottery and textiles, that link the divine and the everyday.

#5157. The Young Virgin

The Young Virgin, Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, Fuente de Cantos 1598–1664 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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