Skip to main content

Virgin of the Apocalypse

Gaetano Gandolfi

Artwork Details

Virgin of the Apocalypse
Gaetano Gandolfi
oil on canvas, mounted on board
8 1/4 in. x 6 3/4 in. ( 20.96 cm x 17.15 cm )
Joseph F. McCrindle Collection in memory of Frederick A. den Broeder

On Display

Not currently on display


Subject Matter:

This exquisite painting shows the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in which she is raised body and soul to heaven upon the moment of her death. For devout Catholics of the period the event was an important promise of the resurrection of all humanity that would come at the end of time. The stars around her head and moon under her feet presage this resurrection, as these details are derived from the figure of the “woman clothed with the sun” described in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation from the Bible. The raising of the Virgin to heaven before the apocalypse also signals her privileged position in Catholic belief as the Queen of Heaven who would intercede with Christ for mercy on behalf of sinners. This painting evokes such keenly felt faith in the Virgin through its small size, which indicates that it was destined as an object for guiding personal prayers.

Physical Description:

A woman dressed in a rose-colored robe with a blue mantle and flowing white veil stands on a silver crescent moon among a bank of dark clouds. A halo of stars encircles her head. She clasps both hands before her. The heads of two putti peak out from beneath her mantle next to her left hip. Her right foot treads upon a long serpent that curves back upon itself with an open mouth.

Usage Rights:

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.