The Virgin Mary and Mourners at the Cruzifixion, Philipp Uffenbach
Philipp Uffenbach
The Virgin Mary and Mourners at the Cruzifixion
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Philipp Uffenbach

The Virgin Mary and Mourners at the Cruzifixion, 1588

59.7 x 42.2 x 1.5 cm
Physical Description
Mixed technique on oak
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1923 as a bequest from Adolph von Holzhausen
On display, 2nd upper level, Old Masters, room 9


About the Work

Her hands raised heavenward in a gesture of deepest distress, the Virgin Mary has sunk to the ground. Her body is grouped with those of the disciples offering her support and the mourning woman behind her in such a way as to imitate the form of Christ’s cross, which is being erected in the background. Philipp Uffenbach – the young Adam Elsheimer’s Frankfurt teacher – thus staged the Virgin suffering vicariously for her son. The pain endured by the Blessed Mother beneath the cross is intended to provide the faithful with access to the experience of Christ’s Passion.

About the Acquisition

For almost 700 years, from 1245 until 1923, the Holzhausens were one of Frankfurt's most important patrician families and prominent members of the Imperial City's town council. More than thirty members of the family served as mayor on some seventy occasions. Until about 1500 the family were merchants on a large scale, but then concentrated on administering their country property and feudal lands. The death of Adolph Freiherr von Holzhausen (1866-1923) marked the end of the older branch of the family on the male side. He bequeathed to the Städel the ancestral portrait gallery of Frankfurt's Holzhausen family, which dated back to the time of the Renaissance. The portrait collection exhibits the particular charm of an ancestral gallery that has been maintained over many generations.

Work Data

Basic Information

The Virgin Mary and Mourners at the Cruzifixion
Production Place
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Mixed technique on oak
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert rechts unten "1588 / PVb" [Buchstaben ligiert]

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1923 as a bequest from Adolph von Holzhausen

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Persons and Institutions
Illustrated Passage
  • Bibel, Neues Testament, Matthäus 27,33-37
  • Bibel, Neues Testament, Markus 15,22-41
  • Bibel, Neues Testament, Lukas 23,27-49
  • Bibel, Neues Testament, Johannes 19,16-25


  • 73D551 raising of the cross to which Christ is nailed already
  • 73D625 bystanders at the foot of the cross, among whom Mary, Mary Magdalene and John the Evangelist; Mary may be shown swooning
  • 31AA2331 kneeling on both knees - AA - female human figure
  • 31A25221 hands folded with fingers knit
  • 31AA27331 being supported - AA - female human figure

Research and Discussion


Object History
Möglicherweise Auftrag Hieronymus August von Holzhausen (gest. 1596), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis Adolph Freiherr von Holzhausen an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 1923.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

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