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The Girlhood of Mary Virgin

Photo credit: Tate

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The Virgin Mary is shown here as a young girl, working on an embroidery with her mother, Saint Anne. Her father, Saint 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.

Tate Britain

London

Title

The Girlhood of Mary Virgin

Date

1848–9

Medium

Oil on canvas

Measurements

H 83.2 x W 65.4 cm

Accession number

N04872

Acquisition method

Bequeathed by Lady Jekyll 1937

Work type

Painting

Inscription description

date inscribed

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Tate Britain

Millbank, London, Greater London SW1P 4RG England

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