Virgin of Servitude

This representative Gothic Andra Mari was the one that presided over the main altar of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Vitoria-Gasteiz for centuries. It represents Mary, enthroned and crowned as queen, with the Child on her lap, as he blesses and holds the book of the Gospels. Its chronology is disputed, although most authors place it around the beginning of the last quarter of the 13th century, associated with the time that Alfonso X the Wise of Castile stayed in Vitoria between 1276 and 1278. The chronicles claim that the king fell prey to an illness that he overcame thanks to a miracle of the Virgin, and it is believed that he gifted this image to the town as a form of gratitude.

It had an enormous array of jewels and ornaments in its day that it received from many devotees and was kept by its confraternity. It was taken out in procession on the feast of Corpus Christi to be carried on a platform around the city. It was moved to the Chapel of Our Lady of Servitude when it no longer presided over the old Renaissance altarpiece, after being replaced by a Neoclassical altarpiece in 1805. It was subsequently moved to other locations within the cathedral until it was installed for a time in the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art. It returned from there a few years ago to ultimately preside over the Chapel of Saint Mary, in the central body of the ambulatory.


Ficha técnica

  • Author: Anonymous
  • Date: Last quarter of the 13th century
  • Technique: Polychrome stone carving
  • Measurements: 126 x 50 x 45 cm
  • Place: Saint Mary’s Cathedral (Vitoria-Gasteiz)

Image gallery


LAHOZ, Lucía. “Gótico”. En: GONZÁLEZ DE SAN ROMÁN, Miguel (Dir.). Vitoria-Gasteiz en el Arte, vol. I, Vitoria-Gasteiz: Gobierno Vasco, Diputación Foral de Álava, Ayuntamiento de Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1997, p. 220-221.

LAHOZ, Lucía M.ª. “Patronato Real en el gótico en Álava”. Boletín del Museo e Instituto Camón Aznar, LXIX, 1997, pp. 53-80.

LAHOZ GUTIÉRREZ, Lucía. “El pasado en sus sombras proyectadas”. En: LÓPEZ MERÁS, Rosario; GONZÁLEZ DE ASPURU Sara (coord.). Museos de Álava: un patrimonio desconocido [cat]. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Diputación Foral de Álava, 2000. p. 18.

LAHOZ GUTIÉRREZ, Lucía. “A propósito de la Virgen de la Esclavitud y Alfonso X”. En: VÉLEZ CHAURRI, J. Javier; ECHEVARRÍA GOÑI, Pedro Luis; MARTÍNEZ DE SALINAS OCIO Felicitas (eds), Estudios de Historia del Arte en memoria de la profesora Micaela Portilla, Vitoria, 2008, pp. 45-53.

LAHOZ GUTIÉRREZ, Lucía. “Santa María de Vitoria o Virgen de la Esclavitud”. En Las Edades del Hombre, LUX [cat]. Burgos, Carrión de los condes y Sahagún. 2021, pp. 111-112.