Late 17th Century Spanish Retablo 'Our Lady Of Solitude'

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Our Lady Of Solitude
(Señora de la Soledad)
Late 17th Century Retablo
Spanish or Spanish Colonial
Oil On Canvas

This extraordinary and important late 17th century vestidera (showing only the flesh of head and hands) portrays Our Holy Mother, The Virgin Mary in a beautiful yet sorrowful manner, standing upright in somber black and white garments with a long Rosary that hangs beneath her hands. Her black cloak is free from adornment, but her white dress is ornately painted in a floral motif complete with flowers & leaves, and meticulous beading.

Our Lady Of Solitude was highly venerated throughout Spain and it's colonial territories in the New World, however, this example is uncommon from conventional representations in that it she is not in solitude. Beneath her lies the emaciated body of Christ, placing this painting into the category of lamentation.

“As a result of the growing practice of devotional meditation addressed specifically to the Virgin in the 16th and 17th century, representations of the Virgin alone in despair (sometimes accompanied by symbols of Christ’s Passion) became increasingly popular. Spanish Colonial paintings of the Señora de la Soledad were likely based on a celebrated sculpture of this subject made in 1564 by Gaspar Becerra for the convent of Nuestra Señora de la Victoria in Madrid, a work destroyed in 1936 during the Spanish civil war. Images of the sculpture by Becerra circulated in the Spanish colonies through engravings, and possibly also in painted copies exported from Spain, which lead to the spread of this imagery and the production of paintings of this kind in Colonial workshops. Although Becerra’s sculpture was not considered a miracle-working image, the Señora de la Soledad was highly venerated in Spain and came to be so in the Spanish Americas as well.”

Taken From

Though executed in the unmistakable Spanish style, this work compositionally borrows from Italian Renaissance master Masaccio's Holy Trinity in the Church of Santa Maria Novella (Florence, Italy).

Once again departing from tradition, this Lamentation (unlike most where Mary is kneeling in grief, clinging to the lifeless Body Of Christ) depicts Mary upright with the Body Of Christ laying on a platform beneath her feet, similar to Masaccio's, which portrays a skeleton at the base of the fresco laying on a table.


  • Type - Art / Painting
  • Artist - Unknown
  • Era - Late 17th Century / Early 18th Century
  • Condition - Pre-Owned / Visible Signs of Age
  • Composition - Oil on Canvas
  • Origin - Spain or Colonial Spain
  • Dimensions - Framed 18" x 24"
  • Unframed - 11" x 16"