Madonna on a crescent

With her lovely face, slightly shapely figure and softly falling robe, the figure of Mary belongs to the “Beautiful Madonnas” type. This type spread from Bohemia to Silesia at the end of the 14th century.

Mary is depicted as the Queen of Heaven. She holds a scepter in her hand, wears a crown and stands on a crescent moon. The apple that the Christ Child holds in her hand reminds us that Mary was revered as the ‘new Eve’. Through her Son, Mary overcomes the sin that entered the world through Eve.

The Madonna probably comes from a late Gothic winged altarpiece, probably from the so-called ‘altar of the four virgins’. Altars of this type were found in many churches in Bohemia and Silesia in the early 15th century: as a rule, the central chapel is occupied by a statue of Mary, flanked by two smaller figures, one above the other. These could be St Barbara, St Margaret, St Catherine or St Dorothy.

Our Madonna with crescent moon comes from a Silesian workshop from the early 15th century. The original colouring is largely preserved. Added, in a not very happy way, is the right arm of the Christ child. In 1950, the Madonna appeared in the Cologne art trade. By this time, however, it must have been in West Germany for a long time. It is not certain in which church in Silesia she originally stood.


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