Wienhausen, Christ crucified surrounded by the virtues
Original Country
Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony)
Sorting Title
Wienhausen, Christ crucified surrounded by the virtues

This window, one of five stained glass windows in the upper cloister of the south range at Wienhausen, depicts the figure of Christ crucified surrounded by the virtues. Mary and John stand on either side of Christ. The virtues of justice and peace are depicted at the top of the window; mercy and truth are portrayed at the bottom of the window. Next to Christ appears the figure of love (karitas). Love pierces Christ's side and is embraced warmly by him. The figures of justice and peace place the crown of thorns on Christ's head, while mercy and truth appear to applaud with their raised hands.

Style Genre
Work Type
Format Medium

stained glass

Original Location


Historical Context

This is the most famous of the stained glass windows found in the upper cloister of the south range at Wienhausen. It belongs to the same workshop as Wienhausen, Arisen Christ (stained glass) and the window that depicts the "Noli me tangere" scene. This depiction of Christ crucified surrounded by the virtues draws on an Easter sermon by Bernard of Clairvaux for its imagery. It also finds a Biblical basis in Psalm 85. The soul is depicted piercing Christ's side with a dagger and embraced warmly by Christ. This reflects themes common to Bridal mysticism, in which the soul and Christ are portrayed as having an intimate relationship. The use of green glass for the cross likely reflects the idea of the cross as the tree of life or arbor vitae.

Descriptive Notes

These stained glass windows date from the fourteenth century. Money for these windows were donated by lay patrons, as indicated in the convent's necrology. The diamond shaped windows, such as this one, were located along the upper level cloister in the south wing, above matching pointed windows, each with stained glass tops and presumably with wooden shutters below. The windows were taken to the glass workshop of Henning & Andres in Hannover in 1894 for restauration and reconstruction and returned to the cloister with the advice of Conrad Wilhelm Hase. This removal and rennovation effort, however, makes it impossible to know if the windows were returned to their original context and order within the cloister. In their current order, they run from west to east: the entrance of Christ in Jerusalem, the last supper, the crucifixion, Christ prepared for burial, Christ in Hell, the Resurrection, Christ and Mary in the garden, and the apostles Peter and Paul. This narrative flow, however, is broken by two glass panels with apostles and three with figures of saintly abbots, among them Benedict of Nursia and Bernard of Clairvaux.

Current Repository


Photo Credit
Praun Kunstverlag, Munich

Abbess Renate von Randow; Wolfgang Brandis

Image of Wienhausen, Christ crucified surrounded by the virtues.