Still Black and Still Venerated
Many images of the Black Madonna still exist today. Ean Begg reports the existence at one time or another of 450, mostly in Europe, and Marie Durand-LeFebvre reported on 272, mostly in France. Following are listed those images of the Black Madonna which according to reports still exist, are still black and can still be seen. Many more are found in the literature but some were destroyed during the French Revolution and religious wars, some have disappeared or are in private collections, a few have been lightened or repainted and are no longer black and still others are copies of the more famous Black Madonnas such as those of Le Puy or Guadalupe. They are not included in this list.
Most of the Black Madonnas are found in churches, chapels and sanctuaries. A few are in museums. Most are sculpted, usually out of wood, sometimes from stone and one was cast in lead. Some are paintings, most of them attributed to St. Luke. A few are icons and several are frescoes.
The majority of the Black Madonnas listed are found in France - perhaps because much of the earliest research was French. More recently additional Italian and Spanish Black Madonnas have been identified by several authors.
This article was prepared by Vincenzina Krymow during July 1998
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