Black Madonna

Image of the Week

Black Madonna


Black Madonna

For the next two weeks, my weekly post will be dedicated to one of the images offered in my MOTHER’S DAY SALE.  Black Madonna is one of them.  I painted this image almost ten years ago, because I was fascinated by gypsy culture and the fusing of Christianity with pagan tradition.  The Black Madonna is an icon of the Earth Mother long revered by matriarchal cultures, reincarnated as the virgin Mary with dark skin.  She is also known as the Black Virgin.

Statues of the Black Madonna date back as far as medieval times, and are found in Catholic countries all over Europe and in parts of Africa and Asia. She is typically seated on a throne or standing in a shrine, often with a metallic painted halo.  Her dark skin is thought to match the skin tones of gypsies, or to be the result of pigments that darkened with time or from exposure to soot from votive candles.  These statues have been worshipped as idols, which I found both intriguing and disturbing.  Why such primitive devotion?  I had scarcely weaned my youngest child at the time, and could relate to an image of the earth mother that combined primal energy with Western civilization.  So I decided to paint my own Black Madonna.  I did not think of it as a Christian image, but as something that strove to transcend religion, reaching for deeper roots.

More recent renderings of the Black Madonna are meant to signify the trans-racial nature of Christian symbolism.   These are different from the statues created centuries ago.

You can order posters and greeting cards of Black Madonna ON SALE until Mother’s Day, May 10th.  Click here for details!


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