Mater Dolorosa

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The Sorrowful Mother. Albrecht Dürer ( Alte Pinakothek , Munich)
Mater dolorosa. Workshop of Johannes Ruez , around 1720 (Parish Church of St. Gordianus and Epimachus, Aitrach )

Mater Dolorosa ( Latin for "Mother of Sorrows"), even Sorrows , is in the context of Marian devotion used term for representations of Our Lady of Sorrows , the lifelong care of Mary to her son Jesus Christ . Special forms are the representation of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows and that of Our Lady of Solitude (Nuestra señora de la soledad ).


Sorrowful Madonna under the cross. Gothic wall painting (Lärbro kyrka, Gotland)
Mourning Mary with Johannes and Magdalena. Johann Schwanthaler the Elder , around 1760/1770 (Bode Museum Berlin)

The Sorrowful Mother is depicted standing or sitting, in worried devotion or suffering, looking up to the sky and in particular with one - or seven - swords in her chest. She is found less often in the crucifixion group , on the right of the cross of Christ ( John on the left) or alone as Mary under the cross .

The standing Mater Dolorosa already developed in the veneration of Mary, which flourished in the Middle Ages, and refers directly to the 13th century poem Stabat mater .

The seated Mother of Sorrows is younger and combines the emerging portrait painting , which also found its way into Christian art , with motifs such as Maria in the Paradise Garden or the Madonna in the Rose Garden .

The biblical basis (and gospel of the day ) is above all Simeon's visionary word to Mary when the Lord is presented in the temple (Mary Candlemas): “But a sword will pierce your soul” ( Lk 2,35  EU ). Christian iconography refers to this with the image of Mater Dolorosa, who penetrates his chest with a sword. The representation is related to the representation of the opened Sacred Heart of Jesus . The heart of Mary is also pictorially pierced by a sword.

Furthermore, in relation to the canon of the seven joys and seven sorrows (Maria Lätitia, Maria Dolores) there is also the portrayal of pain of the seven swords piercing Mary's chest from left and right or in a wreath.

The Sorrowful Mother is to be distinguished from the depiction of the mourning Mary as Pietà : Mary alone with the body of her son after the Descent from the Cross . The sixth of the seven sorrows of Mary is the lamentation of Christ in the group. The Mater Dolorosa depiction also finds its way into the iconography of the Pietà.

The six other individual representations of pain are:

The Sorrowful Mother

The Mary of the Seven Sorrows

Patronage and Remembrance Day

See also

Web links

Commons : Our Lady of Sorrows  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Mater dolorosa  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence