Black Madonna

Black Madonna, 17th century (replica). Cathedral of Notre Dame du Puy, France.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame du Puy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the chief Marian shrines in Europe. There are at least 180 Vierges Noires in France. At Notre Dame du Puy the legend credits St. Louis with bringing the icon back from the seventh crusade in 1254. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries saw an extraordinary growth of the cult of the Virgin in western Europe. French Vierges Noires tend to be Romanesque in style and sculpted in wood. They portray Mary as the Virgin in Majesty on a throne with a low back holding a toddler Jesus on her knees; both looking straight ahead. They were most often enshrined at places that were sacred before Christianity.

Black Madonna, 17th century. Cathedral of Notre Dame du Puy, France.

A system of religious worship, or cultus (e.g., the Israelite cult). Also refers to adherents of that system.

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