Pedro de Mena's Weeping Virgin saved for Cambridge

A stunning 17th-century bust featuring glass eyes and teardrops, and eyelashes made from human hair, has been bought by the Fitzwilliam Museum following a public appeal and an Art Fund grant.

Pedro de Mena, Mater Dolorosa (Virgin of Sorrows), about 1670–5 Fitzwilliam Museum

Pedro de Mena, Mater Dolorosa (Virgin of Sorrows), about 1670–5


Fitzwilliam Museum

Created by the Spanish artist Pedro de Mena, the Mater Dolorosa (Virgin of Sorrows) is a beautiful painted wood bust made to slightly less than life-size. It was most likely created for a private chapel, and would almost certainly have been paired with a bust of the Ecce Homo (Christ as the Man of Sorrows).

The piece has been on show at the Fitzwilliam Museum since the end of July, and was the focus of a £85,000 fundraising appeal to support its acquisition, kick-started by a £30,000 grant from the Art fund and £10,000 from the Henry Moore Foundation.

Tim Knox, director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, said: 'Thanks to a last-minute rush in donations, and a number of extremely generous donors who promised to make up the shortfall, we proudly announce that we have successfully raised the money needed to secure Pedro de Mena's Virgin of Sorrows for the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

'This has been right to the wire, and every single penny has counted. Our sincere thanks go out to all who donated towards the appeal – you have helped secure an important and beautiful work of art for the nation. We hope that visitors to the Fitzwilliam will enjoy seeing the Virgin of Sorrows for years to come.'

The Virgin of Sorrows will remain on show in the museum's Spanish & Flemish Gallery, alongside other masterpieces by contemporary Baroque sculptors and painters.

Venue details

Fitzwilliam Museum Trumpington Street Cambridgeshire CB2 1RB 01223 332900

Entry details

Free to all

Tue Sat, 10am 5pm

Sun & Bank Holidays, 12noon 5pm

Closed Mon, 24 26, 31 Dec and 1 Jan

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