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.

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