|Our Lady of the Rosary
There are two basic types of Our Lady of the Rosary image. In the older type, from the 16th through the 18th centuries, the Virgin Mary gives the Rosary to St. Dominic alone (example) or to him and other saints, as at left. The other saint is often St. Catherine of Siena, perhaps the most notable of the Dominican woman saints (example).
The second type is the one that prevails today. The Virgin Mary stands alone or with the Christ Child and holds a rosary in her hand. There is very little consistency in images of this style, beyond the fact that the Virgin usually holds a rosary and wears blue and white.
In both types, the bottom of the image may portray souls in Purgatory awaiting the prayers of the faithful that will hasten their entry into Heaven, as in this plaque from the 19th century.
By the 18th century (the time of the painting shown) the Rosary had evolved into the shape it retained until the 21st century: 15 sets of ten recitations of the "Hail Mary" prayer, each set preceded by the "Our Father" (the "Lord's Prayer") and followed by the "Glory Be."
Since the 15th century the 15 sets have been associated with 15 events from the stories of Mary and Jesus. Moving clockwise in the painting and starting with the roundel above the head of the putto on the right, the 15 sets are as follows:
Day of commemoration: First Sunday of October
At left, Our Lady of the Rosary - Spain, 18th century
The Fifteen Mysteries, 16th centuryAlso see: