The Fifteen Mysteries and the Virgin of the Rosary

Artist: Netherlandish Painter (possibly Goswijn van der Weyden, active by 1491, died after 1538), ca. 1515–20

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: (a) 9 7/8 x 21 in. (25.1 x 53.3 cm); (b–p) each 5 x 4 1/8 in. (12.7 x 10.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Anonymous Bequest, 1984

Accession Number: 1987.290.3a–p


This miniature altarpiece relates to the cult of the Virgin of the Rosary. Depicted in the upper registers are fifteen mysteries associated with the Virgin's life: five joyful, five sorrowful, and five glorious. The scene at the base illustrates a miracle by which a man was saved from death when he prayed to the Virgin of the Rosary. Each Hail Mary he recited became a rose that the Christ Child then wove into a garland. The background landscape portrays the Coudenberg Palace in Brussels, suggesting that the picture was commissioned by a member of the Habsburg court, possibly the lords of Ravensteyn.