The Virgin, which references the mother of Christ, is a continuation of the spiritual and religious themes seen in Indiana’s early work. As a senior (1945–46) at Arsenal Technical High School the artist created five illustrations on parchment, modeled after medieval illuminations, of the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke from the King James Bible, and in 1953, while a student at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, he painted the mural Pilate Washing His Hands. In 1958 he took a secretarial job with the Rev. James A. Pike, the dean of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, and began working on Stavrosis, a nineteen-foot-long Crucifixion. And in 1960 he also began work on his wall construction, Jeanne d’Arc (1960–62), named after a Roman Catholic martyr.
With its painted orbs and attached wheels The Virgin is stylistically similar to Indiana’s other herms, however it is one of the few, alongside French Atomic Bomb (1959–60), Law (1960–62), Ge (1960), and M (1960), lacking the addition of painted words and/or numbers on its front. And, alongside Womb (1960–62), it is one of the only “female” herms.