From Majesty to Mystery:
Change in the Meanings of Black Madonnas from the
Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries
, like that of her son, is the stuff of popular imagination, a product
of consensus, formed by the templates provided by popular religious
Just as the contemporary conception of her beauty bears the indelible
stamp of the apparitions at Lourdes (1858), the early modern imagination
was shaped by medieval polychrome statues and icons of the Mother
of Godnot "high art" but rather the kind of personal image
to which candles, incense, and other votive gifts were offered in
thanks for miracles worked. These sacred objects were dressed in
sumptuous garb and bejeweled, carried about in processions, enshrined
in pilgrimage centers small and large, and visually reproduced on
countless souvenir replicas, prayer cards, and other secondary images.
Many of the most highly visible images
of Mary at this time depict a Mother and Child with black faces
and hands. They often have names that highlight this feature: "La
Noire," "La Morenita," or "die Schwarze Muttergottes." For decades,
these black madonnas have presented scholars with a conundrum for
which no completely satisfactory answer has been found. Debate centers
on the question of whether the color was intentional and what it
meant, based on the assumption that explaining the color's origin
would explain what worshipers saw in these images. As a result,
because these images were not originally intended to be depictions
of Mary as an African (thus setting them apart analytically from
other prominent black images in sacred art), scholars have hardly
touched on the question of their perception as such. In my view,
however, black madonnas must be examined as part of the history
of the perception of black skin in Europe.
At the same time, it is important to avoid a projection backward
in time of modern concepts of skin color and identity. Black madonnas
present us with an extraordinarily complex and yet cogent example
of how perception and aesthetic experience are determined by culture.
A positivistic approach toward ascertaining
the ontological status of their blackness is most likely futile
and in any case tells us nothing of how the color was perceived
and interpreted among believers. That is why, in this essay, I will
approach the question of when and why the madonnas became black
in terms of a history of perception. What patterns of interpretation
would have been available and relevant to viewers to make sense
of the skin color? How do these change over time? And can the explanation
for the existence of this coloring be sought in these meanings?
Although the prototypical images date from the Middle Ages, there
is no evidence that indicates they were widely perceived as black
at that time. I will argue that this perception becomes integrated
into the Counter-Reformation program of legitimizing and promoting
the veneration of miraculous images of Mary. The development of
race as a construct of scientific discourse at the end of the eighteenth
century undermines dramatically the plausibility of pious interpretations
and thus contributes to the rise of the modern notion that the madonnas
must have become black by accident. My goal is to understand why
black madonnas were among the highest ranked images of Mary for
so many years, and then to trace the perceptive changes that turned
them into inexplicable curiosities, focusing on those in the German-speaking
areas, which have received less attention up to now. The approach
is highly context-bound, and I would not suggest that my findings
from these regions are valid per se for France, Italy, or Spain,
but I would hope that a similar approach for madonnas of these regions
could open new perspectives on a discussion of these objects that
has more or less run aground.
(also known as "black virgins") are found in all Roman Catholic
regions. They are mostly mid to late medieval images of Mary with
Child, and are known as black due to their complexions, which can
range in hue from light brown to black. They belong, almost exclusively,
to three types. One is the imported Byzantine icon, or in the majority
of cases, the Byzantine-style icon, which was produced in
great quantities in thirteenth and fourteenth-century Italy. The
second and third types are statues, generally around thirty inches
in height, almost always wooden and painted (polychrome), rarely
of stone or metal. The oldest are the enthroned madonnas of the
eleventh and twelfth centuries, the highest concentration of which
is found in south-central France. So many of the Majestas-type
images in this region are black that these vierges noires
are often treated as the epitome of the black madonna, overshadowing
the other types, probably due to the more extensive French scholarship
on the phenomenon. In southern Germany and the Alpine region, the
third type is more common: the statue of Mary standing, holding
her Child on one arm, which dates from the late thirteenth to the
Prior to the nineteenth century, local madonnas were important as
identification figures for individual communities, but each Catholic
country had its generally recognized national center of Marian devotion,
and, more times than not, this most highly regarded of all Marian
images was black
: for the French, she was Notre Dame du Puy; in Spain, the Virgins
of Guadalupe (Estremadura) and Montserrat (Catalonia); for Catholic
Swiss, Unsere Liebe Frau von Einsiedeln near Zurich (Figure
; in northern Italy, the madonna in the Santa Casa of Loreto on
the Adriatic coast near Ancona, whose influence and popularity extended
beyond the Alps into Bavaria, where the most venerated image was
the Schwarze Muttergottes of Altötting (Figure
: The black madonna of Einsiedeln, Switzerland, without
its traditional dress. Reprinted with permission of
the photographer, P. Damian Rutishauser of Einsiedeln.
: The black madonna of Altötting, Bavaria, in
the dress in which it is presented on the altar of
the pilgrimage chapel today. From Gerhard P. Woeckel,
Pietas Bavarica (Weissenhorn, 1992), reprinted
with permission of the publisher, Anton H. Konrad
A clear definition is difficult: not
only is the judgment of what is "dark enough" to be termed "black"
subjective, but the application of the name "black madonna" to a
particular image does not appear to follow any consistent set of
Because of differing opinion among scholars on what makes a madonna
blacka dark complexion in the eyes of a given viewer or the
consensus of the local population and/or church officialsestimates
of their number vary.
Suffice it to say that there is probably a core group of a few hundred
European images generally accepted as black madonnas as well as
many hundreds of secondary images, that is, copies placed in votive
shrines. The vast majority of these date from the mid-sixteenth
to mid-eighteenth centuries.
With regard to dating, it is important
to note that the point in time at which an image was created does
not necessarily correspond to the point at which it became black,
or known as black, nor does it correspond to the point at which
the pilgrimage itself was established. Especially in the case of
the primary shrines, the pilgrimage can have begun much earlier,
focused on a different object, and later shifted to a Marian image,
which is not necessarily (already) black. Even though many of the
pilgrimage sites in question originated before the Reformation,
I would not argue that they were necessarily devoted to madonnas
known as black from the beginning. Subsidiary shrines present a
bit of a different case. As copies of primary pilgrimage sites,
they reproduce and represent a particular historical moment in the
status of that cult and its visual scheme. Most of these subsidiary
shrines, especially widespread in the southern German-speaking regions,
were established in the post-Reformation period,
as part of the rise in devotion to miraculous Marian images in the
course of the Counter-Reformation and, in Germany, after the Thirty
Years' War. Although we cannot be sure the secondary images were
black from their creation, either, I will present evidence that
supports the thesis that the common perception of the primary images
as dark began no earlier than the proliferation of their copies.
The blackness of these madonnas is
sometimes mentioned in general works on Marian art, but neither
theologians nor art historians have devoted much attention to them.
This may be because, for a century or more, the dominant view among
these scholars has been that the color of these images is not intentional
but rather the result of discoloration due to the soot and smoke
of candles and incense as well as chemical reactions in the paint.
The Parisian architect and religious archaeologist Charles Rohault
de Fleury is generally accepted as the first influential source
of this hypothesis. In 1878, he suggested that silver plating on
the images that had blackened with age had been misunderstood by
copyists as intentional and therefore copied in black. All black
madonnas stemmed, in his view, from this original misunderstanding.
In Germany, the Jesuit scholar of Marian art, Stephan Beissel, became
the authority on this issue. He wrote in 1909 that the blackness
of most images was not intentional: "Many types of paint, especially
the vermilion and red lead used to make skin tones as well as the
silver used here and there as the base, turn black with age . . .
Other images of this kind stood for decades, even centuries, in
the midst of innumerable candles, whose smoke blackened them."
Although the novelty of a black madonna seems to be a source of
pride for local pilgrimage centers today, among most scholars the
phenomenon has been deemed rather uninteresting, as it is customarily
considered to be nothing but darkening by candles and age and thus
not warranting greater investigation or elaboration.
Considerable interest in these images
has been shown of late in the field of depth psychology, in which
black images of Mary are interpreted as Jungian archetypes
and, as in one particularly popular book, as representatives of
heretical Christian and occult traditions.
These publications can draw not only on a long tradition of viewing
Mary as the "feminine face of God" or even the "secret goddess of
Christianity" but also on academic research. Scholars working from
the perspective of comparative religion have maintained that the
devotion to black madonnas is the continuation of cults of pre-Christian
earth and mother goddesses who were also sometimes portrayed with
black skin. This theory, which in Germany has its roots in Romantic
Volkskunde beginning with Jakob Grimm, was developed further
around the middle of the twentieth century in the works of the French
art historian Marie Durand-Lefebvre (1937) and folklorist Emile
Leonard Moss, an American anthropologist who became interested in
black madonnas after having come across one as a soldier in Italy
in the 1940s, arrives at the same explanation, a viewpoint he first
expressed in the United States at a conference in 1952, to very
Most recently, the comparative religionist Stephen Benko has summarized
this school of thought, which points to the erection of churches
housing black madonnas on the sites of former temples to Cybele
(as in Tindari, Sicily) and to the Ephesian Diana (for example,
In another recent monograph, the feminist historian Lucia Chiavola
Birnbaum bases her conception of black madonnas as "a metaphor for
a memory" of earth-centered spirituality on the hypothesis that
pre-Christian beliefs are preserved in folk culture.
Where the discussion of black madonnas
is concerned, the primary focus of interest has been on clarifying
the origins of the fleshtones, then going from there. Thus it has
not progressed much beyond the debate over whether the color came
about intentionally or not, oscillating between extremes of exoticization
Those who argue that the color was intentional tend to place so
much emphasis on the color alone, on its "mystery" and "power,"
that one begins to wonder why anyone ever venerated a white image
of Mary at all. Many attributes characterized by this school as
unique to black madonnas are, in fact, equally represented among
images of Mary never considered blackbut since these scholars
hardly look for meanings of these images from within the cult of
Mary, they do not notice this.
Their standpoint is further weakened by the lack of empirical evidence
supporting the view that not only morphology and function of pre-Christian
images were adopted by Christian art but also their cultic meaningsthat
is, the "continuity theory" favored by this camp. On the other hand,
the argument that the color is accidental has generally been used
to imply that the blackness is secondary, if not utterly devoid
of meaning. While this standpoint has the advantage that it views
black images within the context of the cult of Mary as a whole,
it tends to gloss over the color issue and thus fails to explain
why so many pilgrimage shrines of the greatest renown housed black
madonnas. Furthermore, the contention that they were not originally
black leads many scholars to discount the significance of them eventually
becoming (known as) black, and thus they are hard pressed to explain
why as late as the nineteenth century, rather than being cleaned,
madonnas were repainted black.
Both sides have largely missed engaging issues regarding the meanings
of blackness on images of Mary for worshipers and the transformation
of those meanings over time.
An 1890 collection of legends surrounding madonnas notes, "the blackness
of these antique images was supposed to enhance their sanctity,"
a remark that bears closer examination.
Although the works of art historians
Hans Belting, Michael Baxandall, and David Freedberg have provided
interesting insights, my approach to this question is not as a member
of their discipline.
Rather, it is informed by principles of symbolic anthropology, according
to which religious symbols are to be understood from within the
context in which they are used, using the internal logic of the
The study is therefore grounded in a historical-anthropological
method focused on describing those contexts from roughly the sixteenth
through the nineteenth centuries. Not only the images themselves
but also the discourse on them, as well as representations of them
(votive art, illustrations, etc.) form the material basis of this
inquiry. Both image and text will be viewed in relation to the tides
of popular devotion as they were influenced by the Catholic Church.
Historical contextualization of these cults can lead to a clearer
understanding of the symbolic meanings communicated by the dark
skin of the madonna, if and when it was perceived as such. In this
regard, my method relies on Baxandall's notion of "cognitive style,"
which firmly links perception to experience and thus to culture.
I believe this approach avoids the pitfalls of previous scholarship
on black madonnas outlined above by decentering the question of
the color's origin, making it instead part of an analysis of cult
traditions and the complex interactions of elite and popular worship.
How can we know when
the general characterization of these madonnas as black began? The
intentionalist literature would have us believe that the images
were black from their creation and were venerated as such. But no
records of the commissioning of these works exist in which the color
was specified, no reports from the artists' workshops detailing
the choices of paint for the flesh tones. Neither is reference made
to the color of the cult images in fifteenth and early sixteenth-century
records from the observer's perspective, such as the Mirakelbücher
or pilgrim's travelogues.
In late medieval illustrations, Marian images seem to be treated
with a considerable lack of attention to detail,
and texts simply speak of the "image of Our Lady" but do not describe
it. If any information is given in these texts at all, it comes
from the legends telling of the image's miraculous origins. These
oral narratives were collected and published in the seventeenth
century as part of a primarily Jesuit program to revitalize the
cult of the miraculous Marian image. Particularly well received
was the Atlas Marianus, a collection of cult legends surrounding
1,200 Marian pilgrimage centers worldwide, published by Wilhelm
Gumppenberg in Munich in 1672.
In these narratives, whose primary function is to legitimate the
pilgrimage, that is, provide information on the venerability of
the object and the aura of the site, very little mention is made
of the color of the madonnas now known as black. A comparison of
the legend traditions from about sixty pilgrimage sites also does
not reveal any consistent differences between legends surrounding
black madonnas and those surrounding images not known as black.
All share a common set of recurring motifs, such as the miraculous
finding of the image in a tree, bush, well, spring, or underground
place; the refusal of an image to leave a certain spot; the resistance
to or revenge taken for damage or "wounding," and so on.
Only one motif can be said to come up relatively often in connection
with black madonnas: that of the prestigious artistin most
cases, St. Luke the Evangelist. Evidence for this legend in connection
with Byzantine icons in the West goes as far back as the iconoclastic
debates of eighth-century Constantinople,
but many madonnas that are said to be "true portraits" of Mary,
painted from the life by St. Luke, acquired this status only in
the fourteenth or fifteenth century. Though far fewer in number
than the icons, some statues are also said to have been created
by St. Luke. As far as I have been able to ascertain, they are all
black madonnas of the oldest, enthroned style, such as the madonna
of Montserrat, with one prominent exception: the black madonna of
Loreto, which is in the standing style.
But not all portraits by St. Luke are considered black, so not even
this legend motif can be deciphered as a sure indication of a madonna's
status as black from the time of the legend's genesis, much less
its installment as a cult object.
This apparent lack of interest in
the color of the images continues well into the seventeenth century.
In an earlier, smaller compendium of Marian pilgrimage sites,
Gumppenberg included copperplate engravings illustrating the miraculous
images. Even though attention to the accuracy of reproduction is
greater than in the representations from the late fifteenth century,
the facial features were left to the artist's interpretationif
he had even viewed the original to begin with. And still, most of
the madonnas known as black today are not shown with dark skin (Figures
If the descriptions of the images the artists were going on were
anything like the descriptions offered in the accompanying text
in the book, they did not include instructions on darkening the
: Illustration of the madonna of Altötting in
Wilhelm Gumppenberg's Atlas Marianus sive de imaginibus
Deiparae per orbem Christianum miraculosis, Vol.
1 (Ingolstadt, 1657). Courtesy of the University Library,
: Illustration of the madonna of Einsiedeln in Wilhelm
Gumppenberg's Atlas Marianus sive de imaginibus
Deiparae per orbem Christianum miraculosis, Vol.
1 (Ingolstadt, 1657). Courtesy of the University Library,
The Le Puy madonna is an exception
here: it is depicted and described in the text as dark (fuscus),
suggesting perhaps an earlier perception of this madonna as black
than the others in the compendium.
However, the madonna of Loretothe very cult with particularly
high status for the German Jesuits, and the one spreading all over
the southern German-speaking regions in the seventeenth centuryis
shown as white. This is particularly odd, since it and other Italian
images attributed to St. Luke appear to have been known as dark
at least in some circles in the sixteenth century or even earlier.
In 1571, the Dominican Gabriel de Barletta cites not only a thirteenth-century
authority on the question of the Virgin's complexion but also images
renowned as true portraits, which he describes as dark:
You ask: Was the Virgin dark or fair? Albertus Magnus says that
she was not simply dark, nor simply red-haired, nor just fair-haired
. . . Mary was a blend of complexions, partaking of
all of them, because a face partaking of all of them is a beautiful
one . . . And yet this, says Albertus, we must admit:
she was a little on the dark side. There are three reasons for
thinking thisfirstly by reason of complexion, since Jews
tend to be dark and she was a Jewess; secondly by reason of witness,
since St. Luke made the three pictures of her now at Rome, Loreto
and Bologna, and these are brown-complexioned; thirdly, by reason
of affinity. A son commonly takes after his mother, and vice versa;
Christ was dark, therefore . . .
Leonard Moss cites the Scots Catechism
of 1552 as a direct reference to black madonnas: "[these statues]
darkened into something not far from idolatry . . . when
. . . one image of the Virgin [generally a black or ugly
one] was regarded as more powerful for the help of suppliants."
A Mirakelbuch from Altötting of 1674, about the same
time as Gumppenberg's work, mentions nothing of the madonna's blackness
in the text, but the copperplate frontispiece is highly suggestive
of a dark complexion.
So there is indeed evidence that,
between the mid-sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries, some of
these images were known to be particularly dark. But the fact that
the popular narrative tradition surrounding them does not refer
to it at all makes one wonder how common a perception this was.
An interesting source in this regard are the ex voto images dedicated
to black madonnas by pilgrims, in most of which a representation
of the miraculous image was integrated into a picture documenting
the crisis in which the Virgin had successfully interceded on behalf
of the donor.
At two sites in Bavaria, there are a large number of such votive
plaques ranging from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. One
is the large pilgrimage site at Altötting, where an impressive
collection of thousands of votive images spanning five centuries
are mounted on the walls of the chapel (Figures 57).
The other is a small, rural chapel some twenty miles away from Altötting,
in Teising bei Neumarkt-St. Veit, in which some sixty votive plaques
are on display, the majority of the collection having been destroyed
in a fire in the late nineteenth century.
The chapel in Teising is a subsidiary Einsiedeln shrine established
in 1627 by a local nobleman in gratitude for his wife's recovery
from a serious illness. Soon, the copy of the famous Swiss image
began working wonders itself and developed a considerable local
: Votive plaques from the mid-seventeenth century
mounted on the wall of the pilgrimage shrine in Altötting.
Reprinted with permission of the photographer, Heiner
Heine of Kastl, Germany.
: Votive image to the madonna of Altötting from
the year 1782. From Robert Bauer, Bayerische Wallfahrt
Altötting, 4th edn. (Regensburg, 1998), reprinted
with permission of the author/episcopal administration
: Votive image to the madonna of Altötting from
the year 1813. From Robert Bauer, Bayerische Wallfahrt
Altötting, 4th edn. (Regensburg, 1998), reprinted
with permission of the author/episcopal administration
The representations of these black
madonnas in the votive art share a surprising pattern: they are
"white," that is, depicted with light skin, until about 1700. In
Altötting, the earliest representations of a black madonna
are from the last decade of the seventeenth century, alongside many
still in the old style. In Teising, the earliest plaque with a depiction
of the madonna as black is from 1739. Not until around 1750 are
the representations of the cult object in both chapels always
black. Does this prove that the madonnas of Altötting and Teising/Einsiedeln
were not originally black? Did they indeed turn black from candle
smoke beginning in the late seventeenth century? The comparison
of the two chapels makes this conclusion less easy to draw: the
cult in Teising was 150 years younger and the image exposed to far
fewer candles than the Altötting madonna, and yet both suddenly
appear black on votive tablets at the same time. Were both images
painted black around this time? There has been speculation on whether
the Altötting image might have been purposely darkened to make
it more similar to the madonna of Loreto, but this is generally
assumed to have been in the late sixteenth century.
One could contemplate how black the Einsiedeln original might have
been around 1627 and to what extent this blackness was transferred
in the creation of the Teising copy.
In either case, it was not represented in the early votive tablets,
just as it was not part of the legends or learned illustrations
of the seventeenth century. In fact, it was a century before the
color appeared in the votive tablets.
I would argue that the votive tablets
say far less about exactly when the madonnas turned black than about
when they began to be perceived as black madonnas, a fact
that is more closely connected with discourse on the images and
the availability of interpretive schemes than with "actual" blackness.
Therefore, although it is possible that some black madonnas were
indeed not yet black at the time of Gumppenberg's collection, the
fact that he does not mention their blackness in his otherwise painstakingly
thorough compendium is more likely an indication of the fact that,
regardless of the actual color of the image, the concept
of a black madonna had not yet been fully developed as an accolade
heightening an image's prestige. This would also explain why, although
Gumppenberg provides an encyclopedic list of designations for the
various images, the names referring to the blackness of some images
are not mentioned.
If, therefore, the perception of an image as a black madonna was
more dependent on it being talked about as black than on any actual
gradation of skin color that could be measured on the image itself,
what kind of discourse would have supported such a perception and
when did it come about?
It is no accident that the Jesuits
promoting the cult of the miraculous Marian image used the legends
to support their cause. Legends are a highly important discourse
framing these images, for they represent the primary semantic context
in which miraculous images, regardless of color, were embedded.
The reiteration of themes among holy sites familiar to the faithful
heightens the plausibility of each one's claim; the fact that the
same types of events are connected with images generates a sense
of recognition that reaffirms for believers the truth of all the
legends. It is impossible to know just what kind of aesthetic effect
a black madonna had on an average early modern worshiper. However,
for the faithful, the recurring motifs of oral tradition provide
a relevant fabric of meanings into which cult images were woven.
They provide a key to understanding where blackness of the image
would have fit in for the common worshiper, that is, what sense
would have been made of it. Three narrative motifs are particularly
First, many legends emphasize the
age of the image. This can probably be seen as the background of
the most frequent motif: inventio, the miraculous finding
of the image, sometimes after it had been lost or hidden away from
infidels for centuries.
Antiquity as an attribute of prestige not only follows the aristocratic
model of heritage, whose value increases the farther back in time
the family line can be traced, but also the notion that the older
an image of Mary is, the greater the proximity to the time in which
she lived and indeed to her. In a sense, this theme reaches its
logical extreme in the second important motif, the story of St.
Luke and the true portrait. This story is also related to a third
theme frequently encountered in legends: that of the image's origin
in or near the Holy Land. It is then often said to have been found
by an early Christian pilgrim, such as St. Helena, or brought back
Visualization of this motif was achieved in the Byzantine style
used for paintings and in the type of wood claimed for statues.
The dark color of a statue could have suggested not only aged wood
but also precious types such as ebony or cedar thought to grow only
in the Eastern Mediterranean. In sum, the legends indicate that
blackness is part of a triad of mutually reinforcing attributes:
Eastern provenance, antiquity, and the legend of the true portrait.
The color could serve as a visual metaphor for authenticity, augmenting
the message of the legend motifs and supporting them in their legitimizing
function, and ultimately, proving useful in cult promotion.
Two aspects of this popular, or folk,
understanding of the color within the context of the legends are
important to note: it was tacit, and it applied primarily to the
object, not the person depicted. This is not the case in theologically
informed interpretations. Blackness becomes explicit in the discourse
on these madonnas when the biblical phrase "nigra sum sed formosa"
(Song of Solomon 1: 5) is used to understand them.
On one level, placing these images in the interpretive context of
the Song of Songs connects them with a longstanding exegetical tradition
of identifying Mary with the church, the bride of Christ.
On another, "I am black but beautiful" was useful as an interpretive
aid to bridge over the grave dissonance felt between blackness/sinfulness
and beauty/virtue, as in the iconography of black skin in religious
art, as well as to counteract negative connotations of the color
in folk traditions.
In Teising, there is evidence of this kind of interpretation being
offered the faithful: at the centennial celebration of the chapel
in 1726, a sermon was preached that uses the Song of Songs to make
sense of the image's blackness.
Father Benedikt Frumb begins with the blackness of the bride in
the Song of Solomon, who is black and yet beautiful, and asks: "Who
can believe that? . . . Who does not know that the color
black has always been considered a metaphor and sign of sadness,
grief and hideousness?"
In the rest of the sermon, Frumb explains how, through the love
between the bride (Mary/the church) and the groom (Jesus/God), this
opposition is transformed. The blackness comes, for example, from
the grief Mary feels at the Crucifixion.
The power of her love is likened to the sun, which darkens the skin
of the bride. Finally, Frumb interprets blackness as a symbol of
the humble attitude of the bride of the Song of Solomon, which parallels
Mary's at the Annunciation. He then presents this humility as the
great advantage of the madonna of Teising, who would turn no supplicant
The earliest votive tablet on display
in Teising that includes the blackness of the madonna was donated
by a nobleman in 1739, thirteen years after this sermon.
Could the sermon's explicit interpretation of the blackness have
generated an awareness of it as an essential and meaningful part
of the image, only then making it part of the representation on
votive plaques? In Einsiedeln itself, the earliest explicit reference
to the image's blackness comes from a sermon in 1698, in which Mary
is characterized as a blacksmith: "This black color of the holy
image, these blackened walls, this steam and smoke in the holy chapel
persuade me . . . that this must be a wondrous forge in
which, by way of the holiest Mother of God, through her fiery, motherly
love, the arrows and rays of God's wrath are forged and changed
into so many arrows of grace and mercy."
Considering that the chapel inside the great Benedictine church
had been recently renovatedbeginning in 1617 and again in
1683, until the entire structure was covered in black marble, making
the inside dark but for the light of the candles and lamps burning
black had become an interpretive element of the architectural framing
of the image as well.
The impression of the chapel in Altötting would have been similar:
the immense silver altar framing the madonna as well as the rest
of the dark chapel interior was created in the years following the
Thirty Years' War (Figure 8).
It would seem that, by the turn of the eighteenth century, the color
black was becoming an integral part of the dramatic presentation
of these cult images.
: Interior of the Altötting chapel. From Gerhard
P. Woeckel, Pietas Bavarica (Weissenhorn, 1992),
reprinted with permission of the publisher, Anton
H. Konrad Verlag.
The larger context here is a pilgrimage
revival initiated in part by reform measures, which, instead of
simply suppressing "superstitious" popular belief, began harnessing
its energy while controlling its forms of expression in an explosion
of organized rituals, prayers, processions, and the like. The wars
of the seventeenth century, causing great suffering and destitution
of the population, also created a greater need among believers for
heavenly aid. The majority of local pilgrimage centers in southern
Germany were founded during or immediately following the Thirty
These included many copies of the chapels in Loreto, Einsiedeln,
and Altötting, but it also meant that other, older chapels
that had fallen into disuse during the Reformation were reactivated.
In most Catholic (or re-Catholicized) territories, Jesuits were
assigned the task of (re)establishing pilgrimage sites, processional
activities, congregations, and sodalities dedicated to specific
Marian cults. Concrete measures emerging from the decisions of the
Council of Trent took time to arrive at the local level and in many
areas of Germany were delayed by the war, so they were not fully
implemented in many areas until about 1660.
As one of the elements of Catholic devotion that clearly distinguished
it from Protestantism, image veneration was strongly promoted. Medieval
shrines and centuries-old images were given special emphasis. Focus
on the miraculous image was not an innovation of the Counter-Reformation,
but it took on new significance in opposition to Reformation iconoclasm.
Whether the reinstated images had been regarded as miraculous before
was not necessarily provable in every case. As one scholar of German
popular piety, Hans Dünninger, has pointed out,
Due to the lack of written documentation and as a result of undependable
oral traditions, revitalized pilgrimages acquired the reputation
for having been centers of an image cult as early as the Middle
Ages. Under the changed circumstances [of the Counter-Reformation],
one could not imagine there might have been such a thing as a
pilgrimage without a cult image. Thus, pre-Baroque paintings or
statues came to be seen as having been miraculous images of medieval
pilgrimages. Not infrequently, they are even claimed to have triggered
Be that as it may, the point that Gumppenberg's collection is part
and parcel of revival activity as an "invention of tradition"in
the sense of discovering certain forms and interpreting their historical
significance in terms of current motivations and needsis well
taken. Gumppenberg must be read as a discourse on idealized pre-Reformation,
unified Catholicism, epitomized in an imagined form of image-focused
Marian devotion at illustrious pilgrimage sites. The continual use
of the attribute uralt (ancient) in the ancient legends refers
to an idealized Middle Ages, or even to the first Christians, in
refutation of the Protestant notion of an image-less original church.
This perspective sheds an important
light on the history of black madonnas. It suggests that in the
course of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, black madonnas
may have reached the apogee of their popularity because they came
to embody this imagined medieval tradition. The visual metaphor
of blackness and the legends surrounding them were essential parts
of this performance: in mutual reinforcement, they supported the
image's claim to authenticity, which is why both might have been
more or less consciously implemented by cult promoters. Even though
he does not single out black madonnas, Belting notes in this regard:
"The myth of origin also guaranteed the rank of a particular image,
which was derived from its age (or supernatural creation). Age was
a quality that should be perceptible in its form. Therefore, the
form also had a (real or fabricated) evocative value. Archaism as
a fiction of age is among the characteristics of a new cult image."
Clearly, not all images favored by the Jesuits were black, and I
am not suggesting that all black madonnas were blackened for this
purpose. Indeed, in sixteenth to eighteenth-century Jesuit writings
on image theology, hardly any explicit mention of black madonnas
But the framing of the images in traditional narratives and visual
presentation drew attention to and gave meaning to the blackness
of an image. Whether it was already visible or in fact "helped along"
to its blackness at this time is not as important as the point that
the color eventually became an indispensible visual marker for these
In this sense, black madonnas are more a product of Counter-Reformation
image theology than of medieval popular religion. Indeed, the popular
reception of the concept of a black madonna seems not to have taken
hold, at least in Germany, until the early eighteenth century, as
the votive tablets show.
A rare document of artistic work on
a black madonna, from the turn of the nineteenth century, shows
how the color had become an identifying element of the Einsiedeln
madonna, guaranteeing its authenticity. Miraculous images had begun
to come under attack by the anticlerical forces of the French Revolution.
In France, many black madonnas were destroyed at this timeincluding
the illustrious madonna of Le Puy, on June 8, 1794.
In the face of such events, the madonna of Einsiedeln was hidden
away in Austria when republican troops approached the area. By the
year 1799, the statue had suffered considerable damage and had to
be restored. In his report, the restorer, Johann Adam Fuetscher,
The face was thoroughly black; yet this color is not attributable
to the paintbrush, but rather the smoke of the candles and lamps
that have been burning constantly in the holy chapel of Einsiedeln
for so many centuries; for I found and saw it obviously that the
paint on the face had been flesh-colored in the beginning, which
can be well recognized on the flakes that had fallen off and have
I found the face and the hair
of the Child sitting on the left arm, with regard to the color,
like the Mother. The body of the same, as anyone can clearly
see, is painted in flesh tones, which is clear proof that the
face of the Child as well as the Mother were painted according
to nature [nach der Natur] . . .
After I had removed everything
loose and easily detached from the face, and smoothed out as
much as possible the firmly affixed bits of paint, I proceeded
to paint the entire face of the mother as well as the child
with black paint, similar to the previous color, also on those
parts where the previous black color held on; that is where
the elevations that one can see here and there come from.
Fuetscher goes on to note that, because the image was carved with
open eyes, "but because of the black color seemed to be eyeless,"
he was advised to paint rosier cheeks and lips onto the image as
well as blue irises onto the eyes. But when the image was put on
display in Bludenz, where the work was being done, several individuals
who had seen the image before expressed their doubt that this madonna
was in fact the original. At the request of an Einsiedeln monastery
official, Fuetscher repainted the face, eyes and all, in black "as
it was before."
A document like this is not simply
proof that this madonna was never intended to be black, allowing
us to dismiss the issue altogether. Rather, it illustrates the multivocality
of the blackness. The madonna, according to the custom of the time,
was always "dressed," so that only the face and hands of Mary and
Jesus were exposed to the candle smoke, which apparently blackened
them. And yet it did not occur to the artist to restore the original
color. The slightest deviance from the image's familiar appearance
aroused protest among believers. This document vividly illustrates
how sacred meaning can exist in tandem with profane interpretation.
In Altötting, too, the candle-smoke theme has, since the nineteenth
century, become integrated into the legends told of the madonna
for what more eloquent proof of the veneration of centuries
of believers can one ask than the complexion of a madonna darkened
by ritual devotion in the form of millions of candles? In a sense,
it is a positivistic twist on the theme of the uralt image,
as well as visible proof of long traditionthe central category
of Counter-Reformation image theology and a criterion more important
than artistic virtuosity or accuracy of representation.
I have argued that
blackness connoted age and Eastern provenance, which guaranteed
itself closely linked to miraculous power
and that this symbolic potential could have been tacitly integrated
into the narrative and visual framing of uralt images, beginning
in earnest in the later seventeenth century. The first explicit
explanation of the color was the biblical reference offered by clerics.
The use of the phrase "nigra sum sed formosa," however, makes an
important shift in emphasis: it is no longer a black image of Mary
that is spoken of but an image of a black Mary.
If black madonnas were read as depictions
of Mary as the bride of the Song of Songs, was she then understood
to be depicted as an African woman? We have seen in the eighteenth-century
sermon in Teising that the blackness of the bride/Mary is interpreted
symbolically. Most commentaries on the "nigra sum" passage also
interpreted the bride's blackness allegorically, as the soul fallen
from grace, or as the Gentile Church. This latter interpretation
comes from an influential third-century commentary by the theologian
Origen, who saw in the bride the queen of Sheba, generally known
to be African.
But she is not often portrayed with black skin prior to the mid-fifteenth
century. When she is, such as in the late twelth-century altar by
Nicolas Verdun in Klosterneuburg near Vienna, the color is not complemented
by secondary characteristics typical for depictions of Africans,
even at that timein fact, she has long, golden hair, as does
the Einsiedeln madonna. It appears that the blackness of the bride
only connotes Africanness if she is connected with the queen of
Sheba, and even then, the allegorical meanings appear to be primary.
The queen of Sheba, though conceived of as African, is primarily
seen as representing the Gentiles, like the bride, whom Paul Kaplan
describes as "a character largely divorced from ethnic considerations,
who represents a facet of religious belief rather than a material
segment of the universe of the faithful."
The medieval and early modern terminology
for blacks also stems from a dominance of religious categories over
racial considerations: like the English term "moor," in Germany,
Africans were subsumed under the term "Mohr" until the end of the
eighteenth century. This term was religiously unambiguous, since
it almost always referred to a Muslim, but ethnically quite ambiguous,
as it encompassed Turks, Arabs, even Indians, as well as Ethiopians.
The material amassed for the second volume of the comprehensive
study The Image of the Black in Western Art led the authors
to conclude: "Until the end of the fifteenth century the representation
of the black was based on symbolic rather than ethnological considerations."
Although the statement is perhaps too broad, the evidence points
to a perception of the black in which anthropological precision
took a back seat to symbolic, primarily religious, categories. Given
this more tenuous link between skin color and ethnicity, the question
as to whether a black-complected image of the Virgin properly represented
Mary's racial heritage would have been secondary, if it would have
been asked at all. There is occasional mention in early texts such
as Gabriel de Barletta's (above) that the dark skin color has to
do with Mary's Jewishness, thus making even stronger the claim of
the image's authenticity. But I maintain that black skin on Marian
images was multiply encoded and that its symbolic value as a marker
of ethnic or racial origin was not primary until the turn of the
The range of meanings narrowed when
the concept of distinct, color-coded human races was developed in
scientific discourse. At first, when in 1735 the Swedish scientist
Carl Linnaeus divided humanity into four distinct groups, black,
white, red, and yellow, this was no more than an idea in the heads
of a few scholars. By the 1770s, when Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
developed a system of five groups that were associated with the
colors white, black, red, yellow, and brown, and a lively debate
over the definition of race had developed, the convergence of aesthetic
and political considerationsblackness of skin and the justification
of slaverywas fully under way.
As we have seen, the negative connotations
of black as a color could be allegorically reversed in reference
to the Song of Songs. Beginning around 1800, this interpretive aid
would have increasingly lost its effectiveness, as a more deeply
essentialist notion of race-as-color became commonplace. In Germany,
the ambiguous term "Mohr," though still in use, was recognized as
less precise than the various anthropological termsin the
case of black Africans it was "Neger," a borrowing from the Romance
languages which implies the color designationand it becomes
common to refer to "black" and "white" people.
But before the notion that skin color
is first and foremost a racial sign becomes apparent in secular
commentary on black madonnas, aesthetic considerations are at the
fore. Leonard Moss and Stephen Cappannari cite the following remark
by Henry Swinburne, from Travel in the Two Sicilies on the
Madonna di Constantinopoli in a Benedictine abbey in Monte Vergine
near Naples: "This image is of gigantic or heroic proportion, and
passes for the work of St. Luke the Evangelist, though the very
size is an argument against its being a portrait from the life,
had we even the slightest reason to believe he ever handled the
pencil. There are in Italy and elsewhere some dozens of black, ugly
Madonnas, which all pass for the work of his hands, and as such
Although the Council of Trent had instituted an evaluation process
for all cult images, eliminating those that did not conform to the
newly established criteria, which emphasized the "beauty and piety"
of the images, the black madonnas were not affected. The portraits
attributed to St. Luke were, in fact, often referred to as particularly
beautiful, their aesthetic being based on their cultic value.
But outside the religious context, in the age of Johann Winckelmann
and the idealization of classical Greek art, blackness represented
the antithesis of everything beautiful.
Even Karl Marx, in 1856, knew of the notorious ugliness of black
madonnas, as he wrote in a letter to his wife: "Bad as your portrait
is, it serves me to the best purposes, and now I understand how
even the 'black Madonnas,' the most offensive of the portraits of
the divine mother, could find indestructible veneration, and even
more venerators than did the good portraits."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also expressed
a sense of aesthetic disappointment in black madonnas in a comment
from 1816: "How the most unhappy of all appearances could have crept
inthat, probably for Egyptian or Abessinian reasons, the Mother
of God is portrayed as brown, and the face of Our Savior printed
on Veronica's veil was also given a moorish colormay be clarified
when that part of art history is more closely examined."
His is the earliest example of an explicit linkage of the
images to a portrayal of African ethnicity known to me. Never before
the nineteenth century does a black virgin evoke African raceonly
implicitly, if one follows the exegesis of the "nigra sum"
verse that views the bride as an Ethiopian. But biblical interpretations
of images and pious legends are thoroughly rejected by intellectuals
committed to the German Aufklärung, like Theodor Mundt.
He writes in his recollections of a visit to Czestochowa, published
in 1840, with the unconcealed disdain for the rites of pilgrimage
and their participants typical of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century
rationalist discourse. The "schwarze Maria" he mocks evokes for
him nothing but ethnic associations. Even though he ridicules the
belief that the icon was painted by St. Luke, he finds the legend
plausible where it connects the image to Byzantium, "where all kinds
of Egyptian and Ethiopian elements could have played into giving
the Virgin Mary this skin color."
The ascendancy of African origin as
that which is necessarily signified by black skin meant that the
earlier perceptions and meanings of black madonnas were more or
less submerged. The blackness's former multivocality was narrowed
to one meaning: racein particular, one into which Mary could
not be fit. In contrast to those black images meant to depict Africans,
such as the Black Magus or St. Maurice, it would have become increasingly
difficult as the nineteenth century progressed for people to explain
why Mary, whom they knew to be a Jewish woman from Palestine, was
portrayed as an African. Even for the very pious, this would have
undermined dramatically the value of black madonnas as actual portraits
of Mary and made the legends that associated these images with St.
Luke highly implausible. The color, once a sign of authenticity
and venerability, was no longer understood in this way, as reported
in the case of the madonna of Chastreix: When it was painted black
parishioners complained "that their Virgin had been made a negress."
The allegorical meaning of the skin provided by the "nigra sum"
verse could partially be integrated into the modern encoding of
black skin as a primary signifier of race,
but the more subtle authenticating effect of the dark color connected
with the pious legends was lost and, with it, any other plausible
basis for the intentionality of the color. Black madonnas then became
the enigmas they are made out to be today.
Not surprising, then, that the accidentalist
theory took hold in the mid-nineteenth century, not only within
the Catholic Church because of its opposition to the comparative
religionist stance, but also because this theory resolved the cognitive
dissonance created by the racial encoding of black skin. This development
corresponded with a new conception of Mary's appearance that began
with the highly popularized French apparition cults of the mid-nineteenth
century. The images of the Miraculous Medal (based on the visions
of Catherine Labouré in Paris in 1830) and of Lourdes (based
on the visions of Bernadette Soubirous in 1858), like their medieval
predecessors, claimed authenticity, but, unlike earlier cult images,
they were closely associated with the new dogma of the Immaculate
Conception, and their visual scheme was dominated by the color white.
The cults, promoted by the church with an intensity not seen in
a century and with modern instruments of industrialized production
and railway transportation, dominated devotion to Mary during the
nineteenth century and into the twentieth.
Visions and apparitions patterned after these cults continued on
up to Fatima in 1917 and later. Each reappearance of Mary as a European
woman reaffirmed her whiteness, adding another layer of sediment
to the social construction of her appearance. After the scientific
assertion that black madonnas are "actually" white,
the most sympathetic interpretation left for the blackness was as
a patina resulting from intense devotion or simply age (a modernization
of the theme from the legends?), all the while corroborating the
"truth" of Mary's whiteness.
The history of the changing perception
of black madonnas is, of course, also a story about its transition
from sacred object to work of art. The accidentalist theory explaining
their blackness makes sense only if these images are seen as material
objects with a history, rather than miraculously appearing emissaries
from heaven. And the question "why are they black?" can only be
asked when they are seen as products of an artist, however anonymous.
This general development among religious images is also part of
what makes black madonnas open for racial associations and other
It is not that these madonnas lost their sanctity because they were
perceived as African but that the loss of their aura helped bring
non-religious strata of meaning to the fore, most forcibly a secularized
notion of accurate representation and the question of race. The
idea of a black madonna as possibly African was not disturbing enough
to cause any reference to it until the early nineteenth century,
and then it was primarily among those for whom sacred meanings were
invalidrationalist, even anti-Catholic, intellectuals. Although
the old and new style of perception surely existed side by side,
the characterization of black madonnas as "mysteries" so often encountered
today has to do with the modern inability to see past skin-color-as-race,
or, to paraphrase Zygmunt Bauman, with the modern mind's intolerance
of ambiguity. The (re-)sacralization of these objects today takes
place primarily among followers of a New Agestyle spirituality,
picking up on the continuity theory and its literature but taking
the (ethnically coded) blackness of the madonna as the necessary
Historicizing our perception of black
madonnas may be the necessary first step to reapproaching these
figures with new questions. This has been a primary aim of this
article, namely, to show how a closer look at the contexts in which
black madonnas were venerated can, to a certain extent, demystify
their color. A further objective was to add a small tile to the
developing mosaic of knowledge about the European perception of
black skin through history. At the same time, it has been a study
in how meanings can be lost and thus render an image (or an aspect
of it) illegible. In response to much of the literature on black
virgins in particular, it should have become clear that most of
these images are probably far less archaic than their presentation
would have us believe, and that it is always wise to keep a careful
eye on the Baroque predilection for appropriating medieval forms
in a highly selective fashion. It is my hope that the implications
regarding the origins of black madonnas may have opened up a new
perspective on these objects.
The first incarnation of this article was a Magisterarbeit
written at Tübingen University under the guidance of Gottfried
Korff, to whom thanks are due for advice in the early phase of
research. I also thank the organizers and participants of the
conference "The German Invention of Race" at Harvard University
in May 2001 for their encouragement and comments, as well as Christine
Beil, Nikolaus Buschmann, Andrea Hoffmann, Christian Rak, Klaus
Schreiner, Keith Vincent, Ralph Winkle, and John Zilcosky for
taking the time to read various versions of the piece and giving
valuable feedback. I should also like to express my warmest appreciation
to the AHR readers and editors for their insightful comments
and helpful suggestions. Finally, I also owe a debt of gratitude
to the Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft
in Tübingen as well as its photographer, Martin Schreier,
for financial and technical support in the preparation of the
Monique Scheer is a graduate
of Stanford University (BA, History) and currently a PhD candidate
at the University of Tübingen, Germany, in the department
of Empirical Cultural Studies/European Ethnology, where her major
field of interest is popular religion. Her dissertation project
on war experience and the cult of the Immaculate Conception is
being funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
1 On a constructivist
definition of popular religious art, see David Morgan, Visual
Piety: A History and Theory of Popular Religious Images (Berkeley,
2 The series edited
by Ladislas Bugner, The Image of the Black in Western Art,
clearly demonstrates how the portrayal of human beings with black
skin must be correlated with the portrayal and perception of Africans.
See, for this time period, Vol. 2 by Jean Devisse, From the
Early Christian Era to the "Age of Discovery": Part 1From
the Demonic Threat to the Incarnation of Sainthood, Part 2Africans
in the Christian Ordinance of the World (Cambridge, Mass.,
3 This theoretical
position is also succinctly described in Michael Baxandall, Painting
and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy: A Primer in the Social
History of Pictorial Style (Oxford, 1972), 2930. See
also Thomas Luckmann, The Invisible Religion: The Problem of
Religion in Modern Society (New York, 1967), esp. chap. 3;
and Morgan, Visual Piety, 117.
4 Mary and the baby
Jesus are always both shown as black. I am aware of only a few
examples where Mary is black and the Child is white (seventeenth
and eighteenth-century copies of Loreto madonnas) and of no examples
of the reverse. Debate has centered on the depiction of Mary as
black since Jesus' color is assumed for various reasons to be
derived from hers.
5 In the quantitative
study of contemporary pilgrimage shrines by Mary Lee Nolan and
Sidney Nolan, Christian Pilgrimage in Modern Western Europe
(Chapel Hill, N.C., 1989), they find "Forty percent of the dark
images are venerated at shrines classified as major pilgrimage
centers, in contrast with fifteen percent of the light images.
Thus, a cult image characterized by darkness of skin tone is well
over twice as likely as a light image to be venerated at a shrine
with substantial visitation from an extensive area, and even more
likely than usual to be found as a primary cult image at an extremely
important shrine" (p. 207). However, the caveats below regarding
statistics on these images due to the difficulties in defining
them also apply here.
6 Some images have
a light complexion and yet are referred to by local tradition
as black because they were darker prior to a recent restoration.
For "whitened" images in Italy (in Lucera, Montenero, Avellino,
and Chiaramonte Gulfi), see Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Black
Madonnas: Feminism, Religion and Politics in Italy (Boston,
1993), 3. In France, the images in Tournus and Orcival were "restored"
to a lighter color in 1860 and 1959, respectively, although they
are still referred to by the local population as vierges noires;
see Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet, Vierges noires: Regard et fascination
(Rodez, 1990), 8991 and 10203 (incl. photos). Copies
of black madonnas in which the dark skin was not reproduced, as
well as madonnas that appear to the average viewer to be quite
dark and yet are not referred to as such, present authors such
as Ean Begg with problems when attempting to catalog these images;
see his gazeteer of over 500 black madonnas in Europe and the
Americas: The Cult of the Black Virgin, 2d edn. (London,
7 French scholars
estimate that there are some 180 black madonnas in France alone.
See Marie Durand-Lefebvre, Etude sur l'origine des Vierges
Noires (Paris, 1937); Emile Saillens, Nos vierges noires
leurs origines (Paris, 1945); Cassagnes-Brouquet, Vierges
noires. Jacques Huynen, L'énigme des Vierges Noires
(Paris, 1972), distinguishes between "authentic" black madonnas
and those "artificially" blackened (p. 185), and thus counts fewer.
These authors count some sixty to seventy black madonnas outside
France, although they do not clearly distinguish between main
shrines and secondary images that have developed their own pilgrimages.
In the German literature, Franz A. Schmitt, "Vom Geheimnis der
Schwarzen Madonnen," Königsteiner Jahrbüchlein
(1957): 8587, is often cited; he counts 272 black madonnas
in all of Europe, 188 of which are in France. Leonard Moss, who
produced the first study in English, reports having collected
100 examples of black madonnas in the course of his research.
See Leonard W. Moss and Stephen C. Cappannari, "In Quest of the
Black Virgin: She Is Black Because She Is Black," in Mother
Worship: Theme and Variations, James J. Preston, ed. (Chapel
Hill, N.C., 1982), 5374. The Nolans counted 167 in their
Europe-wide statistic, Christian Pilgrimage, 202.
8 No comprehensive
study of these secondary images has been done, so their number
can only be pieced together and estimated. Stephan Beissel, Wallfahrten
zu Unserer Lieben Frau in Legende und Geschichte (Freiburg
im Breisgau, 1913), mentions 142 Loreto chapels in Europe. Gerhard
P. Woeckel, Pietas Bavarica: Höfische Kunst und Bayerische
Frömmigkeit 15501848 (Weissenhorn, 1992), cites
a 1972 study counting 272 copies of the Altötting image worldwide
(p. 349). Odilo Ringholz, Wallfahrtsgeschichte Unserer Lieben
Frau von Einsiedeln: Ein Beitrag zur Culturgeschichte (Freiburg
im Breisgau, 1896), lists 49 copies of the madonna of Einsiedeln
in Europe, although most are in the Swiss and the Alpine regions
(pp. 17576). See also Cassagnes-Brouquet, Vierges noires,
12633, on copies of the Le Puy madonna. Nolan and Nolan,
Christian Pilgrimage, 10708, also note a seventeenth-century
peak in secondary shrine formation in the South German region,
specifically those to Loreto, Einsiedeln, and Altötting.
9 See Nolan and Nolan,
Christian Pilgrimage: "Subsidiary shrines, where copies
of black images are venerated, are . . . much more recent
on the average than other dark image shrines. The oldest date
from the fifteenth century, and 89 percent of the 43 that could
be assigned to time periods were established after 1530" (pp.
20708). They find it "tempting to speculate that a generalized
association of dark skin tones with miraculous qualities was yet
another Renaissance innovation," since there was a "proliferation
of shrines subsidiary to dark images during and after that period"
(pp. 20809). However, it must be pointed out that only 11
percent of their own sample originates from before 1530, which
would place the emphasis squarely on the post-Renaissance period.
Furthermore, as they themselves are aware (p. 208), the presence
of a dark image in a shrine at the time their data were gathered
does not mean it was dark at the time of shrine establishment.
10 Except in France,
where art historians Durand-Lefebvre (Etude sur l'origine)
and Cassagnes-Brouquet (Vierges noires) have devoted monographs
to the topic. In Germany, theologians specializing in Marian art
have made article-length contributions: Martin Lechner, "'Schön
schwarz bin ich'zur Ikonographie der schwarzen Madonnen
der Barockzeit," Heimat an Rott und Inn (1971): 4461;
Schmitt, "Vom Geheimnis." The articles on pilgrimage and Marian
art in the Handbuch der Marienkunde, vol. 2 (1997), say
nothing to the topic. Although a section is devoted to the Loreto
madonna (pp. 46768), for example, it mentions nowhere that
it is widely known as a black madonna.
11 See Ilene H.
Forsyth, Throne of Wisdom: Wood Sculptures of the Madonna in
Romanesque France (Princeton, N.J., 1972), 21; as well as
Saillens, Nos vierges noires, 30; and Cassagnes-Brouquet,
Vierges noires, 16970. This explanation is curious,
however, since the silver plating applied to most images did not
cover the skin parts.
12 Stephan Beissel,
Geschichte der Verehrung Marias in Deutschland während
des Mittelalters: Ein Beitrag zur Religionswissenschaft und Kunstgeschichte
(Freiburg im Breisgau, 1909), 345. (My translation here and in
all subsequent quotations from foreign-language publications.)
13 See, for example,
Fred Gustafson, The Black Madonna (Boston, 1990); Ursula
Kröll, Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Madonnen: Entdeckungsreisen
zu Orten der Kraft (Stuttgart, 1998); China Galland, Longing
for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna, a Ten-Year Journey
(New York, 1990).
14 Begg, Cult
of the Black Virgin.
15 Jakob Grimm,
Deutsche Mythologie (Göttingen, 1835), 195, n. 1:
"the ancients also depicted the wrathful earth goddess Demeter
as black …, indeed, from time to time even her daughter,
Persephone, the fair maiden . . . Pausanius mentions
the black Aphrodite (Melanis) . . . [T]he Ephesian
black Diana is well known, as is the fact that in the Middle
Ages black images of Mary were carved and painted; the
Holy Virgin appears then as a mourning goddess of the earth or
the night: images such as this at Loretto, Naples, Einsiedeln,
Würzburg …, Öttingen …, Puy …, Marseilles
and elsewhere" (emphasis in the original).
16 Moss and Cappannari,
"In Quest of the Black Virgin," 55: "Apparently our discussion
touched the raw nerves of some rather religious members of the
audience, for every priest and nun walked out. Other reactions
were less hostile, and we were urged to submit a somewhat lengthier
version of our thesis for publication . . . [I]mmediately
[afterwards] the chaplain of the Newman Club at Wayne State University
gave a sermon in which he fulminated against the campus atheists
who would defile the name of the Blessed Virgin." My thanks to
Uli Linke for providing me with an offprint of their original
paper, titled "The Black Madonna: An Example of Cultural Borrowing,"
published in The Scientific Monthly 76, no. 6 (June 1953):
17 Stephen Benko,
The Virgin Goddess: Studies in the Pagan and Christian Roots
of Mariology (Leiden, 1993), 21316. It must be pointed
out that many sites of Christian worship, to Mary and other saints,
black and not black, were formerly non-Christian. This school
of thought is also connected to an argument that sees black madonnas
as African imports: see Danita Redd, "Black Madonnas of Europe:
Diffusion of the African Isis," in African Presence in Early
Europe, Ivan Van Sertima, ed. (New Brunswick, N.J., 1985),
18 Birnbaum, Black
19 See David Freedberg,
The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response
(Chicago, 1989), 1317, for a description of how scholars
can "resolutely fail to notice" unpleasant or somehow embarrassing
elements of images and take great pains to explain away or simply
deny "pictorial facts."
Vierges noires, 3974, does look at Christian legends
for meanings, identifying certain motifs as "typical" for black
madonnas, which, however, they are not.
21 Some examples:
The Einsiedeln madonna was repainted black in 1799 (see artist's
report in Ringholz, Wallfahrtsgeschichte, 36, and below).
The Altötting image was restored in 1911, remaining faithful
to the original colors, according to Robert Bauer, Bayrische
Wallfahrt Altötting, 2d edn. (Munich, 1980), 28. The
Czestochowa icon was darkened in the nineteenth century according
to Moss and Cappannari, "In Quest of the Black Virgin," 57. The
madonna of Marsat was painted black in 1830 (Cassagnes-Brouquet,
Vierges noires, 8687) and the madonna of Chastreix
in 1892 (Cassagnes-Brouquet, Vierges noires, 25859,
and below). Ilene Forsyth, an expert on the seated Romanesque
madonnas of France, had only this to say about the issue of their
frequent blackening: "The reasons for these alterations have to
do with religious customs of the communities in which the Majesties
are honored"; Throne of Wisdom, 21.
22 The discussion
of black madonnas in Klaus Schreiner, Maria: Jungfrau, Mutter,
Herrscherin (Munich, 1994), 21348, is the only scholarly
treatment of the subject known to me that engages the question
of believers' perceptions and the interpretive schemes they had
available. Although his assumption of the fundamental "foreignness"
of black madonnas is somewhat problematic, his approach is infinitely
more useful than most of the literature on these images.
23 Mrs. Jameson,
Legends of the Madonna (New York, 1890), quoted in Moss
and Cappannari, "In Quest of the Black Virgin," 5354.
24 Hans Belting,
Bild und Kult: Eine Geschichte des Bildes vor dem Zeitalter
der Kunst (Munich, 1990); Baxandall, Painting and Experience;
as well as Michael Baxandall, The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance
Germany (New Haven, Conn., 1980); and Freedberg, Power
25 As Clifford Geertz
put it in The Interpretation of Cultures (New York, 1973),
"It is explication I am after, construing social expressions on
their surface enigmatical" (p. 5). In Victor and Edith Turner,
Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture: Anthropological
Perspectives (Oxford, 1978), the authors are more focused
on ritual action, but their approach can also be made useful for
the analysis of images, as it "refers to the interpretation of
symbols operating as dynamic systems of signifiers (the outward
forms), their meanings, and changing modes of signification, in
the context of temporal sociocultural processes" (p. 243).
26 These were small
booklets distributed throughout the countryside reporting the
miracles that had taken place at a particular pilgrimage sitefor
Altötting, a particularly well-documented pilgrimage site,
copies have been preserved from as far back as 1492. They continued
to be produced well into the seventeenth century. Woeckel, Pietas
27 German travelers
to Santiago or Rome often took the route through Einsiedeln. Theodor
Hampe, "Deutsche Pilgerfahrten nach Santiago de Compostella und
das Reisetagebuch des Sebald Örtel (152122)," Mitteilungen
aus dem Germanischen Nationalmuseum (1895): 6182; Hermann
Künig von Vach, Die Walfarth und Strass zu Sankt Jakob
(Strasbourg, 1495); Reisebuch der Familie Rieter, R. Röhricht
and H. Meisner, eds. (Tübingen, 1884); Des böhmischen
Herrn Leo's von Romital
Ritter-, Hof- und Pilger-reise durch die Abendlande 14651467:
Beschrieben von zweien seiner Begleiter, J. A. Schmeller,
ed. (Stuttgart, 1844).
28 Copperplate engravings
made in 1466 by the master E.S. as souvenirs from Einsiedeln,
for example, do not represent the image there at that time accurately;
see Belting, Bild und Kult, 477. Late fifteenth-century
Mirakelbücher from Altötting are often illustrated
with images of Mary that have little resemblance to the actual
statue in the chapel at that time. See Gabriela Signori, "Das
spätmittelalterliche Gnadenbild: Eine nachtridentinische
'Invention of Tradition'?" David Ganz and Georg Henkel, eds.,
Rahmen-Diskurse: Kultbilder im konfessionellen Zeitalter
29 Guilielmo [Wilhelm]
Gumppenberg, Atlas Marianus: Quo sanctae Dei genitricis Mariae
imaginum miraculosarum origines duodecim historiarum centuriis
explicantur (Munich, 1672). The images are ordered according
to location and rank. The first is Loreto; the second is the icon
of Santa Maria Maggiore, later widely known as a black madonna,
whose cult had had the particular support of the Jesuit order
since 1569, when it sent copies to all the monarchs of Europe
to have them organize shrines and general devotion to it (Belting,
Bild und Kult, 539).
30 Beissel, Wallfahrten
zu Unserer, gives a systematic overview of legend motifs,
albeit with an eye to exposing the "natural" causes of what were
described as "supernatural" events.
31 The oldest source
of the legend of St. Luke as portraitist of the Virgin is widely
considered to be a passage from the Historia Tripartita
by Theodorus Lector, written around 530 AD. However, since the
original text is lost and all that has been preserved are sections
copied into church histories of the thirteenth century, it has
been suspected that this passage was added later. Belting, Bild
und Kult, 7072; and Gerhard Wolf, Salus populi romani:
Die Geschichte römischer Kultbilder im Mittelalter (Weinheim,
32 Devotion to the
image takes place within the context of the pilgrimage to the
Santa Casa, according to legend the Nazarene house in which Mary
lived, transported to Loreto by angels in 1294. The madonna, which
was said to have been of cedar, was destroyed in a fire in 1920
and replaced by a replica. For an overview of the cult and its
dissemination in southern Germany, see Walter Pötzl, "Santa-Casa-Kult
in Loreto und in Bayern," in Wallfahrt kennt keine Grenzen,
Lenz Kriss-Rettenbeck and Gerda Mohler, eds. (Munich, 1984), 36882.
33 Guilielmo [Wilhelm]
Gumppenberg, Atlas Marianus sive de imaginibus Deiparae per
orbem Christianum miraculosis, 2 vols. (Ingolstadt, 1657).
Atlas Marianus, 1657, 88. See Paul H. D. Kaplan, The
Rise of the Black Magus in Western Art (Ann Arbor, Mich.,
1985), 2628, for a discussion of the ambiguous nature of
the Latin word fuscus, which has been translated as "swarthy"
35 This madonna
is also explicitly referred to as black in a poem from 1518; see
Schreiner, Maria, 24041. A pious history of the Le
Puy madonna by the Jesuit Odo de Gissey published in 1627 also
includes an illustration of the madonna with black skin; Cassagnes-Brouquet,
Vierges noires, 167.
36 Gabriel de Barletta,
Sermones celeberrimi, I (Venice, 1571), 173, quoted in
Baxandall, Painting and Experience, 57. The proof that
Jesus was dark-skinned is usually also taken from a "true portrait,"
the Veil of Veronica, see note 70 below.
37 Archbishop Hamilton,
quote (with ellipses) in Moss and Cappannari, "In Quest of the
Black Virgin," 65.
38 Gabriel Küpferle,
Histori von der weitberühmbten unser lieben Frawen Capell
zu Alten-Oetting in Nidern Bayern, 4th edn. (Munich, 1674),
39 For a survey
of votive art, see Lenz Kriss-Rettenbeck, Ex Voto: Zeichen,
Bild und Abbild im christlichen Votivbrauchtum (Zurich, 1972).
40 Helmut Sperber,
Unsere Liebe Frau: 800 Jahre Madonnenbild und Marienverehrung
zwischen Lech und Salzach (Regensburg, 1980), 99100.
41 See Thorsten
Gebhard, "Die marianischen Gnadenbilder in Bayern: Beobachtungen
zur Chronologie und Typologie," in Leopold Schmidt, ed., Kultur
und Volk: Beiträge zur Volkskunde aus Österreich, Bayern
und der Schweiz; Festschrift für Gustav Gugitz zum 80. Geburtstag
(Vienna, 1954), 98. See also Sperber, Unsere Liebe Frau,
94. There were other borrowings in Altötting from the customs
in Loreto, for example the veiling of the madonna on Good Friday
in black cloth, which was then cut into tiny squares, glued to
holy cards of the madonna and distributed among the visitors.
In 1623, a Jesuit observer remarked on the popularity of the shrine,
"one can rightly claim that Altötting does not take second
place to Loreto, Montserrat and Einsiedeln in Switzerland" (quoted
in Woeckel, Pietas Bavarica, 354), which itself betrays
the rivalry among them. See also Oliva Wiebel-Fanderl, Die
Wallfahrt Altötting (Passau, 1982), 6465.
42 The madonna of
Teising is now no longer black. Records of when and why the restoration
took place could not be found in the city's archives. One possibility
would, of course, be the same fire that destroyed the votive tablets
in 1861. But the remaining votive tablets suggest that the madonna
changed her color right around 1900, when suddenly the madonna
is no longer portrayed as the dark virgin of Einsiedeln.
Atlas Marianus, 1672, Index 7.
44 In Spain, the
common enemy from which images were hidden were the Moorsa
classic example is the legend of the Virgin of Montserrat; see
Wilhelm Herchenbach, Die heiligen katholischen Gnaden- und
Wallfahrtsorte mit den Heiligthümern und Reliquien: Nach
geschichtlichen Quellen und Legenden (Stuttgart, 1884), 65863;
and Beissel, Wallfahrten zu Unserer, 463. In Germany and
Bohemia, they were Hussites and, later, Protestants; see Beissel,
Wallfahrten zu Unserer, 813, 2731. The theme
of the hidden image has, of course, the advantage of explaining
why there are no historical records of it and allows its date
of origin to be placed as far back as deemed necessary.
45 See Beissel,
Wallfahrten zu Unserer, 86.
46 "I am very dark
but comely." The application of this verse is quite unanimously
found to be a later interpretation of an already black(ened) image,
not the original reason for painting Mary with dark skin. Beissel,
Geschichte der Verehrung Marias, 345. Use of the phrase
seems to have begun earlier in France (in particular for the Le
Puy madonna) than in Germany. Schreiner, Maria, 23942.
See also Cassagnes-Brouquet, Vierges noires, 167, on Jesuits
as primary disseminators of this interpretation in France.
47 This passage
from the Song of Songs has, as Sander Gilman put it, "even more
than the discussion of the origin of the races from among the
sons of Noah, provided commentators with a text upon which to
discuss the nature of blackness." Gilman, On Blackness without
Blacks: Essays on the Image of the Black in Germany (Boston,
48 The damned, sinners,
demons, and those possessed by them, and, above all, Satan were
traditionally portrayed with black skin in Christian art throughout
the Middle Ages. See Devisse, Image of the Black, vol.
21. Folk traditions in Germany overwhelmingly associate
the color black with negativity; see the article on "Farbe" in
Hans Bächtold-Stäubli, ed., Handwörterbuch des
deutschen Aberglaubens (192742; rpt. edn., Berlin, 1987),
49 Lechner, "'Schön
schwarz bin ich,'" quotes extensive excerpts from this sermon,
which was titled "Schön Schwartz bin Ich / Das ist: Deß
göttlichen Gesponß / seiner schönen schwartzen
Braut Schwärtze / an dem Marianischen Gnaden-Bild von Einsidl
zu Teising," and published along with other centennial sermons
in 1727 in Landshut under the title of Teisingerisches Erstes
Marianisches Jubel-Jahr . . . The Teising pilgrimage
was at its apogee at this timeand no other anniversary celebration
drew as large a crowd as the first one. Sperber, Unsere Liebe
50 Lechner, "'Schön
schwarz bin ich,'" 48.
51 Lechner, "'Schön
schwarz bin ich,'" 49.
52 Lechner, "'Schön
schwarz bin ich,'" 52.
53 In Einsiedeln,
the sermon offering an interpretation of the blackness was also
held around the turn of the eighteenth century. But as no votive
tablets from this time survived fires and plundering by French
troops at the turn of the nineteenth century, it cannot be confirmed
when the representation of a black madonna on them began there.
54 Lechner, "'Schön
schwarz bin ich,'" 5051.
55 Georg Holzherr,
Einsiedeln: Kloster und Kirche Unserer lieben Frau; Von der
Karolingerzeit bis zur Gegenwart (Munich, 1987), 30.
56 With this renovation,
the Einsiedeln madonna was positioned above the altar surrounded
by the Trinity: the Son she is holding, the Father crowning her,
and the dove (Holy Spirit) floating above them. The current presentation
was introduced in 1704: the madonna standing alone before a golden
backdrop of clouds and lightning bolts (see cover illustration).
57 Bauer, Bayrische
Wallfahrt, 2627. The chapel's inner walls were painted
black until they were finally covered in black marble in 1886;
Wiebel-Fanderl, Wallfahrt Altötting, 40.
58 See Beissel,
Wallfahrten zu Unserer, 15772, on the dressing and
crowning of images. See also Walter Hartinger, Religion und
Brauch (Darmstadt, 1992), 10812, for a concise overview
of the dramaturgy of image presentation during this time, which
often included covering the image most of the year and ceremoniously
revealing it to the sound of trumpet fanfares on special occasions.
59 This is pointed
out, for example, in Nolan and Nolan, Christian Pilgrimage,
107, 112. No other war prior to the twentieth century was as devastating
in its impact on the German population. See Benigna von Krusenstjern
and Hans Medick, eds., Zwischen Alltag und Katastrophe: Der
Dreißigjährige Krieg aus der Nähe (Göttingen,
60 Wolfgang Brückner,
"Zum Wandel der religiösen Kultur im 18. Jahrhundert," in
Ernst Hinrichs and Günther Wiegelmann, eds., Sozialer
und kultureller Wandel in der ländlichen Welt des 18. Jahrhunderts
(Wolfenbüttel, 1982), 6583.
61 Hans Dünninger,
"Zur Geschichte der barocken Wallfahrt im deutschen Südwesten,"
in Barock in Baden-Württemberg: Vom Ende des Dreißigjährigen
Krieges bis zur Französischen Revolution (exhibition
catalog) (Bruchsal, 1981), 415. The medieval historian Gabriela
Signori has also questioned whether the seventeenth-century concept
of the miracle-working madonna existed in late medieval Europe.
Signori, "Das spätmittelalterliche Gnadenbild."
62 See Belting,
Bild und Kult, 26. Influential post-Tridentine tractati
on image theology published by Italian authors at the end of the
sixteenth century also placed emphasis on long tradition as a
legitimizing factor in the proper use of images. For an overview,
see Christian Hecht, Katholische Bildertheologie im Zeitalter
von Gegenreformation und Barock: Studien zu Traktaten von Johannes
Molanus, Gabriele Paleotti und anderen Autoren (Berlin, 1997),
on this point esp. 145.
63 Belting, Bild
und Kult, 24.
64 Hecht, Katholische
65 Detailed archival
research of each of the primary black madonnas, beyond the scope
of this study, might also reveal whether the popular names (Schwarze
Muttergottes, etc.) were established in the mid to late seventeenth
66 The image on
display there today is a recreation based on drawings and descriptions
of the original done by Faujas de Saint-Fond in 1778; Saillens,
Nos vierges noirs, 8692.
67 Quoted in Ringholz,
68 Quoted in Ringholz,
69 It is not mentioned
in Gumppenberg, but in Herchenbach, Die heiligen katholischen
Gnaden- und Wallfahrtsorte, a late nineteenth-century collection
of legends, the Altötting madonna is explicitly referred
to as the "Schwarze Muttergottes." Herchenbach explains the color
with the smoke of candles and incense "that have surrounded her
for 1200 years" (pp. 58384). This remarkably long period
corresponds with Gumppenberg's version, which tells that the image
was brought to Altötting around 700, at the time of the conversion
of the first Bavarian leader to Christianity (see Atlas Marianus,
1672, 5657). Art historians estimate the Altötting
image to be no older than late fourteenth century.
70 What the Luke
portraits were for Mary, the Veil of Veronica was for the adult
Jesus. Since the early thirteenth century, legend has it that,
on the path to Golgotha, a woman named Veronica (vero ikon
= true image) wiped the blood and sweat from Jesus' brow as he
labored past, bearing the cross, and his image appeared spontaneously
on the cloth she used. On display in St. Peter's Cathedral in
Rome, this cloth (and its many copies around the Catholic world)
is venerated as a true portrait of Jesus. The image is also recognized
as being unusually dark complected. Here again is a convergence
of darkness of skin and the notion of a vera effigies,
or authenticity of representation. On the tradition of Veronica,
see Ewa Kuryluk, Veronica and Her Cloth: History, Symbolism
and Structure of a "True" Image (New York, 1991); as well
as the classic Ernst von Dobschütz, Christusbilder: Untersuchungen
zur christlichen Legende (Leipzig, 1899).
71 See Freedberg,
Power of Images, 20512, for a discussion of the power
of the belief in an authentic representation being particularly
effective in working miracles and worthy of veneration.
72 Origen saw the
role of the Gentile Church in a positive light, which is why he
advocated a translation of the verse as "I am black and
beautiful." Ernst Benz, "'Ich bin schwarz und schön' (Hohes
Lied 1,5): Ein Beitrag des Origenes zur Theologie der negritudo,"
in Hans-Jürgen Greschat and Herrmann Jungraithmayr, eds.,
Wort und Religion: Kalima na dini; Studien zur Afrikanistik,
Missionswissenschaft, Religionswissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1969),
73 Kaplan, Rise
of the Black Magus, 42.
74 For a more detailed
discussion of this point, see the comprehensive study of the perception
of blacks in German society by Peter Martin, Schwarze Teufel,
edle Mohren (Hamburg, 1993), 83; the term even engendered
a certain respect: the "Mohr" embodied a high (even superior)
culture and, as a militarily aggressive non-Christian, was to
be feared. See also Kaplan, Rise of the Black Magus, 4.
75 Devisse, Image
of the Black, 21: 136.
76 Gilman, On
Blackness without Blacks, 4956, and see p. 93: "From
the middle of the 18th century to the mid 19th century, the concept
of the slave was conterminous with the image of the Black."
77 Martin, Schwarze
Teufel, 85, 101. "Neger" remained the common term for blacks
in colloquial German until the mid-twentieth century. In recent
years, the term "Schwarzer" has generally taken its place; however,
it is a somewhat ambiguous term, since white people with black
hair have traditionally been referred to as "Schwarze," just as
redheads are referred to as "Rote."
78 Henry Swinburne,
Travel in the Two Sicilies, Vol. 1 (London, 1783), 123,
quoted in Moss and Cappannari, "In Quest of the Black Virgin,"
79 Belting, Bild
und Kult, 48396.
80 On blackness
in the aesthetic theory of seventeenth and eighteenth-century
German thought, see Gilman, On Blackness without Blacks,
81 From a biographical
profile of Karl Marx by Arnold Künzli, communicated personally
to Leonard Moss by Alfred Vagts: Moss and Cappannari, "In Quest
of the Black Virgin," 72.
82 Johann Wolfgang
von Goethe, Aesthetische Schriften 18161820: Über
Kunst und Altertum III, Hendrik Birus, ed. (Frankfurt
am Main, 1999), 7576.
83 Theodor Mundt,
Völkerschau auf Reisen (Stuttgart, 1840), 234. Indeed,
his comments are strongly reminiscent of Goethe's and suggest
he may have been familiar with his assessment.
Vierges noires, 25859.
85 B. Craplet, "Vierges
romanes," Richesses de la France, Le Puy-de-Dôme
44 (1960): 6668, quoted in Forsyth, Throne of Wisdom,
86 As the author
of the article "Pélérinage" in the Encyclopédie
théologique, vol. 43 (Paris, 1850), illustrates on
page 715 when he writes that the face of a madonna is black "like
an Ethiopian woman" but nevertheless "lovely."
87 On the French
apparitions and their significance in popular religion, see Thomas
A. Kselman, Miracles and Prophecies: Popular Religion and the
Church in Nineteenth-Century France (New Brunswick, N.J.,
88 See recent media
reports on the madonna of Montserrat. El Mundo headlines:
"'La Moreneta' es blanca" (April 15, 2001); the German news agency
Deutsche Presseagentur reports: "The dark brown Madonna
of Montserrat is actually white [Die schwarzbraune Madonna
von Montserrat ist in Wirklichkeit weiß]" (April 26,
89 The theme of
Belting's Bild und Kult.
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