Mater Dolorosa (1550) by Titian

Mater Dolorosa - Titian - 1550

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Artwork Information

TitleMater Dolorosa
Dimensions61 x 68 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

About Mater Dolorosa

The artwork “Mater Dolorosa” was crafted by the renowned artist Titian in the year 1550. It is an oil painting on canvas distinguished by its dimensions of 61 x 68 cm. Reflecting the Mannerism period which is characteristic of the Late Renaissance, this religious painting forms part of the influential collection retained at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

“Mater Dolorosa,” Latin for “Sorrowful Mother,” depicts a portrait of the Virgin Mary in a state of mourning. Her visage is consumed by melancholy, with eyes directed upward, possibly in a silent appeal to the heavens. The dominant hues in the artwork are the deep, somber blues of her robe, which strikes a sharp contrast with the muted colors of her skin and the golden-brown tones of her headscarf, enhancing the portrayal of her grief.

Mary’s hands are clasped tightly in a gesture of prayer or perhaps anguish, conveying the depth of her sorrow. The artwork’s emotive force is further amplified by the striking chiaroscuro, the stark interplay of light and shadow that was a hallmark of Titian’s mature period. It serves to isolate her figure from the dark background, focusing the viewer’s attention entirely on her pensive expression and the raw emotion of the piece. The rendering of textures, evident in the folds of her garments and the delicate portrayal of her hands, underscores Titian’s mastery of both form and subject, imbuing this religious scene with a palpable humanity and profound spirituality.

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