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The Virgin with Symbols of the Litany of Loreto

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Antwerp (published)

  • Date:

    before 1619 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wierix, Hieronymous Jérôme, born 1553 - died 1619 (engraver)
    Wierix, Hieronymous Jérôme, born 1553 - died 1619 (publisher)
    Wierix, Hieronymous Jérôme, born 1553 - died 1619 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Edgar Seligman

  • Museum number:

    E.3866-1960

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 1

A litany is a type of prayer of earnest or humble petition. It is often used in Christian religous processions and may include repetitions as well as some sort of list.

The Litany of Loreto derives its name from having been adopted at the shrine of the Virgin in the Italian town of Loreto to which the Holy House of the Virgin had been miraculously transported in 1294.

The Litany of Loreto is thought to have been composed at the end of the fifteenth or beginning of the sixteenth century . The earliest printed copy was discovered in Germany and dates from 1558 although it is thought to be based on an earlier Italian prototype, which is now lost.

The roundels down either side of this print refer to some of the titles given to the Virgin Mary in the Litany of Loreto which include Mirror of Justice, Ark of the covenant, and Tower of David.

Physical description

Engraving depicting the Virgin Mary Immaculate standing on a crescent moon surrounded by a bank of protective clouds and cherubs who are holding shields that are deflecting the arrows being fired at the Virgin by animal-headed demons in the bottom right and left corners of the image. The central image of the Virgin is suspended above a dragon. Above the Virgin's head is the Holy Trinity. Down either side are four roundels containing images that refer to the titles given to the Virgin Mary in the Litany of Loreto.

Place of Origin

Antwerp (published)

Date

before 1619 (published)

Artist/maker

Wierix, Hieronymous Jérôme, born 1553 - died 1619 (engraver)
Wierix, Hieronymous Jérôme, born 1553 - died 1619 (publisher)
Wierix, Hieronymous Jérôme, born 1553 - died 1619 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Hieronymus Wierx[sic] fecit et excudit.
Made and published by Hieronymous Wierix.

Collector's Mark
The mark of the collection of George William Reid (1819-1887).

Quae est ista que progreditur quasi aurora consurgens, pulcra ut luna, electa ut sol, terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata.
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.
The Bible, Song of Songs, 6.10

Cum Gratia et Priuilegio. Buschere
Print publisher's privilege- a form of copyright protection.

Dimensions

Height: 15.8 cm, Width: 10.8 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: The roundels down either side of this print refer to some of the titles given to the Virgin Mary in the Litany of Loreto which include Mirror of Justice, Ark of the Covenant, and Tower of David.

The Litany of Loreto derives its name from having been adopted at the shrine of the Virgin in the Italian town of Loreto to which the Holy House of the Virgin had been miraculously transported in 1294.

The Litany of Loreto is thought to have been composed at the end of the fifteenth or beginning of the sixteenth century . The earliest printed copy of the Litany of Loreto was discovered at Dillingen in Germany and dates from 1557 or 1558 although it is thought to be based on a lost Italian prototype. The Litany of Loreto was first officially approved by the Catholic Church in 1587.

Hieronymous Wierix engraved at least three other versions of the Virgin with Symbols of the Litany of Loreto; two larger and one smaller, which suggests that the subject was an extremely popular one.

In this print, shields held by the cherubs who surround the Virgin are stopping the arrows being fired by the animal-headed demons in the bottom right and left corners.

Descriptive line

Print depicting the Virgin with Symbols of the Litany of Loreto by Jerome Hieronymous Wierix; engraving; Antwerp; published before 1619

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Mauquoy-Hendrickx , Marie "Les estampes des Wierix: conserves au Cabinet des Estampes de la Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er: catalogue raisonné", Brussels, 1978-79 no. 708
Hollstein's Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700, Vol LXII The Wierix Family Part IV, no 908, Rotterdam, 2003

Labels and date

THE VIRGIN MARY IMMACULATE
Before 1619
Jerome Wierix (1553-1619)

In the Catholic church, the Virgin Mary was worshipped as a powerful intercessor between Christians and God. Here she rises above her hellish attackers to be received in Heaven. Wierix engraved this image in different sizes, which suggests it was popular.

Southern Netherlands
(Belgium), Antwerp
Engraving [on paper]
[Lettered] in Latin with text from the Song of Solomon and 'Made and published by Hieronymus Wierx'

Given by Edgar Seligman

Museum no.3866-1960 []

Materials

Paper; Ink

Techniques

Engraving

Subjects depicted

Trinity, doctrine in Christianity; Crescent moon; Dragons

Categories

Prints; Propaganda

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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