The Young Virgin

Artist: Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, Fuente de Cantos 1598–1664 Madrid)

Date: ca. 1632–33

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 46 x 37 in. (116.8 x 94 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1927

Accession Number: 27.137


The subject of Zurbarán’s painting is the young Virgin Mary. According to medieval legend, she lived as a girl in the Temple in Jerusalem, where she devoted herself to praying and sewing vestments. This was a subject particularly popular in Italian and Spanish paintings of the seventeenth century, with the Virgin serving as a model of behavior for young women. The delicate modeling of the Virgin’s face and the attention to the still-life elements are characteristic of Zurbarán’s early style.