The Madonna from the Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snow

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The Madonna from the Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snow

around 1380

wood, remains of polychrome; height 148.5 cm, Olomouc, Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snow, loaned for permanent exhibition in the Olomouc Archdiocesan Museum

The Madonna from the Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snow represents the only wooden sculpture from the second half of the 14th century preserved in Olomouc. Originally, it was placed in the Minorite monastery Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary completed in 1383, but which no longer exists. In the 16th century the statue became a revered devotional object. The development of its cult was mainly the work of the Olomouc Jesuit fraternity (sodality) of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, established in 1580. The statue was considered to be miraculous and received many gifts as thanks from people for their pleas being heard. In 1722 it was moved to the newly built Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snow where it had a place of honour on the main altar. It remained there until the 1980s when it was replaced with a copy after restoration. The statue of the Virgin Mary shows certain identical features to the Madonna from the parish church in Tovačov and it is also related to the Madonna from the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Lehnice, Silesia. The soft modelling and complicated lines of the drapery are formally based on the same style as a group of sculptures from the same period in the parish church of Žebrák, represented in particular by the Madonna whose child is similar to the Olomouc Madonnas in his lively movement. The folds of the drapery follow an older woodcarving tradition from the 1370s represented in particular by the Madonna of Zahražany. The shape of the cloak, with its distinct dished fold in the middle and softly hanging vertical folds on the sides, heralds the path that the statuary of the beautiful style would follow a decade later. 

Jana Hrbáčová

Photo Gallery
The Madonna from the Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snow, around 1380


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