Black Madonnas:
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.

Those which follow generally have their origins in the middle ages or earlier. Sometimes an ancient Black Virgin is destroyed and replaced by another, and these are included if they also are old. Modern versions and recent copies or statues are not included, with the exception of the Black Madonna at St. Gervazy, a copy from the Louvre museum workshops.

A few are included because several sources indicate they are Black Madonnas, even when a local official claims they are not Black Madonnas.

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.

See also:

Black Madonnas by Michael P. Duricy
Black Madonnas on our Links to Related Web Sites page
What about White Madonnas?
Nigra-sum - Italian language site with database on European Black Madonnas.

Also Linda Angeli has given information on Santuario di Oropa
Via Santuario di Oropa 480
13900 Beilla - Oropa
tel. +39 015 25551200;
fax: +39 015 25551219

This article was prepared by Vincenzina Krymow during July 1998


Guide to abbreviations:
BV - Black Virgin
c - circa
C - century
OL - Our Lady
N-D -Notre Dame
Rev. - French Revolution


Angerhausen, Jullius, Die schwarze Muttergottes - Legenden um die Schmerzhafte von Telgte, Verlag J. Schnellsche Buchhandlung, 1952

Atienza, Juan G., Nuestra Senora de Lucifer, Martinez Roca, 1991.

de Bascher, Dom Jacques, La Vierge noire de Paris, Tequi, Paris, 1979.

Bayard Jean-Pierre, Déesses mères et Vierges noires: répertoire des Vierges noires par département, Editions duKocher, Monaco 2001.

Begg, Ean, The Cult of the Black Virgin, Penguin Books, London, revised 1996.

Benko, Stephen, The Virgin Goddess - Studies in the Pagan and Christian Roots of Mariology, E. J. Brill, Leiden, NY, Koln, 1993.

Birnbaum, Lucia Chiavola, Black Madonnas - Feminism, Religion, and Politics in Italy, Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1993.

Bonvin Jacques, Vierges noires: la réponse vient de la terre, Dervy-Livres, Paris 1988.

Cassagnes-Brouquet, Sophie, Vierges Noires - regard et fascination, Editions du Rouergue, Rodez, 1990.

Cassagnes-Brouquet, Sophie, Vierges Noires - regard et fascination, Editions du Rouergue, Rodez, 2000.

Charpentier, Louis, The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral , English translation by Ronald Fraser, Research into Lost Knowledge Organization, London, 1972.

Chiavola Birnbaum Lucia, Black Madonnas: feminism, religion and politics in Italy, Northeastern University Press, Boston 1993.

Cruz, Joan Carroll, Miraculous Images of Our Lady, Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford, Ill., 1993.

Delaporte, Y. Les, Notre-Dame de la Cathedrale de Chartres, E. Houvet, Chartres MCMLV, Second Edition

Durand-LeFebvre, Marie, Etude sur L’Origine des Vierges Noires, G. Durassie & Cie, Paris, 1937.

Expert, Chanoine L., La Vierge noire de Paris - Notre-Dame de Bonne Delivrance, Desclee de Brouwer, Paris, 1933.

Hani Jean, La Vierge noire et le mystère marial, Trédaniel, Paris 1995.

Herrera, Rafael Alarcon, La Otra Espana del Temple, Martinez Roca, 1988.

Huynen Jacques, L'énigme des vierges noires, Laffont, Paris 1972.

Iconographie de la Vierge Noire du Puy, Baptistere Saint-Jean Exposition, 1983.

L’Europe Spirituelle - Guide des Hauts Lieux - Editions “Les Cles de l’Europe,” Marseille, 1993.

Markale, Jean, La grande deesse - Mythes et sanctuaires, Albin Michel, Paris, 1997.

Moss, Leonard W. and Cappannar, Stephen C., "In Quest of the Black Virgin: She Is Black Because She Is Black," in Mother Worship - Themes & Variations, James J. Preston, ed., U. of N.C. Press Chapel Hill, 1982.

Nigra sum sed formosa: sacro e bellezza dell'Etiopia cristiana, catalogo della mostra di Venezia (13 marzo-10 maggio 2009), Terra ferma;Vicenza 2009

Oleszkiewicz-Peralba Malgorzata. The Black Madonna in Latin America and Europe: Tradition and Transformation, University of New Mexico, 2009.

Saillens Emile., Nos Vierges noires, leurs origines, Editions universelles, Paris 1945.

Schreiner Klaus, Maria. Jungfrau, Mutter, Herrscherin, Carl Hanser, Munchen 1994.

Also see: An Annotated Bibliography for Books on Black Madonna


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