Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Black Madonna

  • Vivianne CrowleyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9050

Black Madonna is a term used to describe statues and icons of the Virgin Mary where she is depicted as brown or black skinned. The images usually show the Madonna with the child Jesus, who may be depicted as black or white. The images are found predominantly in Europe or in countries with a European colonial past. Some images have European features, but African featured Black Madonna statues have been present in Europe from at least the twelfth-century CE and were probably made originally for African Christian churches. Interpretations of the origins of the images are complicated because some existing images are replacements for earlier Madonnas stolen or destroyed through wars, the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic seventeenth-century Counter-Reformation, the eighteenth-century French Revolution, or simply through changing artistic tastes. Black Madonnas are relatively rare, but those that survive are highly popular and are celebrated by large pilgrimages and major festivals...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cherry Hill SeminaryColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK