Francis Newton Souza painted this work at the request of Maria Figuerado, his first wife. A Goan like Souza and an early admirer of his work, Maria was his first patron. She had bought a watercolor by the same name, dated 1942, from his first solo exhibition held at the Bombay Art Society in 1945. The painting’s blue tranquillity offered respite from the relentless heat of Bombay and was perhaps a reminder of the private family chapel at Maria’s home in Borda, Goa. Soon after Maria married Souza in 1948, the couple moved to London. Maria actively supported his career in London in the 1950s, and even after they had separated, Maria exhibited and sold Souza’s works at her gallery, Arts 38, in 1975 and again in 1984. Ave Maria was painted before the 1984 exhibition. Although inspired by the earlier ethereal version, this painting with its heavy black lines has a darker, brooding quality and demonstrates the evolution of Souza’s style since his first exhibition in Bombay almost forty years earlier.