Virgin of the Rosary

Attributed to

Melchor Pérez Holguín ( Bolivian, 1665 - 1732 )

late 17th–early 18th century
more object details

General Description

The Feast of the Rosary on October 7 celebrates the Catholic practice of repeating a litany to the Virgin Mary while meditating on Christian mysteries through the use of a beaded cross. In this devotional image, the Virgin Mary prominently dangles a rosary while supporting the Christ Child on her lap. Particularly distinctive in this image is the delightful detail of the roses carried by putti, or angels, in the upper left corner; the flowers transform into rosaries as they tumble out of their basket.

Originally thought to be a Mexican painting of the late 18th or early 19th century, this painting has recently been reattributed to Melchor Pérez Holguín, one of colonial Bolivia's most successful painters around the city of Potosí, a major center for religious art. Evidence for the identification rests in the similarities between the faces of the Virgin and putti and those in other documented paintings by Holguín, as well as the elaborate overlay of gold leaf applied to the Virgin's cloak, a practice the artist was known to use.

Excerpt from

  • William Keyse Rudolph, Label text, 2008.

Web Resources