The Fourth Wise Virgin. The Wise and Foolish Virgins, by Martin Schongauer, c. 1480s (before 1483). Budapest Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (WikiCommons).

The Fourth Wise Virgin is part of a collection of prints, The Wise and Foolish Virgins, made by  Martin Schongauer, an engraver and painter in the 1480s. Schongauer came from the Early German school of painters, and only painted religious subject matter.

The story of the wise and foolish virgins was popular in Medieval plays. It comes from the New Testament Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13, where ten virgins were waiting for their bridegrooms, but with nightfall only the wise five ones put oil in their lamps. They fell asleep in the long hours of waiting and when the bridegrooms finally arrived at midnight, the five foolish ones could not be found in the dark. The story is symbolic of waiting for the Lord.

This wise virgin is is shown fully dressed and hair perfectly done with her lamp lit, presumably waiting for her husband. Her round face is indicative of youth, though she has a fully feminine figure that suggests sexual maturity.

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