Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Girlhood of Mary Virgin 1848–9

Artwork details

The Girlhood of Mary Virgin
Date 1848–9
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 832 x 654 mm
frame: 1080 x 905 x 75 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by Lady Jekyll 1937
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1840

Display caption

The Virgin Mary is shown here as a young girl, working on an embroidery with her mother, St Anne. Her father, St Joachim, is pruning a vine. The picture is full of symbolic details. The palm branch on the floor and thorny briar rose on the wall allude to Christ’s Passion, the lilies to the Virgin’s purity, and the books to the virtues of hope, faith and charity. The dove represents the Holy Spirit. This was Rossetti’s first completed oil painting and the first picture to be exhibited with the initials ‘PRB’, for Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, inscribed on it.

July 2007

About this artwork