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Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Box Black Madonna Topic Box

O. L. V. van Halle, bid voor ons.

Print
1880-1900 (Printed and published)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

In art historical terms, a black Madonna is a painting or sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary with dark or black skin, created in Europe in the late medieval period, or sometimes an older image whose documented popular cult dates from that time. Some are made of dark or black materials such as ebony, others are said to have become blackened from the soot of candles, although this explanation and the significance of the Madonna’s skin colour is contested. There are several hundred black Madonnas in Europe. The topic of black Madonnas has attracted a considerable literature in recent decades approaching the subject from the perspectives of anthropology, psychology, art history, feminism, and Black history.

Our Lady of Hal is a 13th-century wooden sculpture of the Virgo Lactens (nursing Madonna) venerated in the church of St Martin in Hal, Belgium. It was orginally given to St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231) by her husband Ludwig IV of Thuringia (1200-1227). She gave it to her daughter Sophie of Brabant (1224-1275) who in turn left it to her stepdaughter Matilda Countess of Holland (1200-1267) who gave or bequeathed it to the church in 1267. The statue's thaumaturgic reputation gave rise to a flourishing cult which necessitated the building of a larger church. The foundation stone for the new church was laid in 1341 and Pope Eugene IV (1383-1447) raised it to the rank of a collegiate church in 1438.

Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) presented the church with a valuable monstrance on his visit in 1513 in thanksgiving for his victories over Louis XII of France (1462-1515). In 1580, Hal was unsuccessfully besieged by an overwhelmingly superior Protestant force under William I, Prince of Orange (1533-1584). The cannonballs that fell harmlessly around the shrine are now preserved there and feature in the subsequent iconography, as in the top right panel here. Medals of Our Lady of Hal standing victoriously on her pedestal of cannonballs were indulgenced by Pope Sixtus V (1521-1590) and the Catholic partisan Philippe III de Croÿ of Aarschot (1526-1595) famously wore one affixed to his hat.

The statue was granted a canonical coronation by Pius IX (1792- 1878) in 1874 and the collegiate church was raised to the status of a minor basilica by Pius XII (1876-1958) in 1946. This holy card was published in the late-19th century for sale to pilgrims as a souvenir of the shrine.


Object details

Category
Object type
TitleO. L. V. van Halle, bid voor ons. (published title)
Materials and techniques
lithography on paper
Brief description
Holy card souvenir of Our Lady of Hal, published by K. van de Vyvere-Petyt, Belgium, late 19th century.
Physical description
Rectangular holy card (portrait format). Front: image printed in colour with gold, composition divided into three panels of unequal size, in the smallest panel (top left) the Black Madonna of Hal nursing the Christ Child, in the largest panel (top right) the same statue vested in ornate robes and jewels and standing on a pile of cannonballs, in the lower panel a view of the shrine, lettered in red and black gothic script below the image within a ribbon banner O.L.V. van Halle, bid.voor.ons. and below that in black Steendr: K. van de Vyvere-Petyt, Brugge. 3f. Back: lettered in black with Dutch prayer to the Virgin Mary and imprimatur within a black border of simple ornament, and below that with K. van de Vyvere-Petyt, Brugge.
Dimensions
  • Height: 11.8cm
  • Width: 7.2cm
Content description
The Black Madonna of Hal and a view of the shrine
Production typeMass produced
Credit line
Given by Tim Travis in memory of Leslie Travis
Subjects depicted
Place depicted
Summary
In art historical terms, a black Madonna is a painting or sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary with dark or black skin, created in Europe in the late medieval period, or sometimes an older image whose documented popular cult dates from that time. Some are made of dark or black materials such as ebony, others are said to have become blackened from the soot of candles, although this explanation and the significance of the Madonna’s skin colour is contested. There are several hundred black Madonnas in Europe. The topic of black Madonnas has attracted a considerable literature in recent decades approaching the subject from the perspectives of anthropology, psychology, art history, feminism, and Black history.

Our Lady of Hal is a 13th-century wooden sculpture of the Virgo Lactens (nursing Madonna) venerated in the church of St Martin in Hal, Belgium. It was orginally given to St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231) by her husband Ludwig IV of Thuringia (1200-1227). She gave it to her daughter Sophie of Brabant (1224-1275) who in turn left it to her stepdaughter Matilda Countess of Holland (1200-1267) who gave or bequeathed it to the church in 1267. The statue's thaumaturgic reputation gave rise to a flourishing cult which necessitated the building of a larger church. The foundation stone for the new church was laid in 1341 and Pope Eugene IV (1383-1447) raised it to the rank of a collegiate church in 1438.

Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) presented the church with a valuable monstrance on his visit in 1513 in thanksgiving for his victories over Louis XII of France (1462-1515). In 1580, Hal was unsuccessfully besieged by an overwhelmingly superior Protestant force under William I, Prince of Orange (1533-1584). The cannonballs that fell harmlessly around the shrine are now preserved there and feature in the subsequent iconography, as in the top right panel here. Medals of Our Lady of Hal standing victoriously on her pedestal of cannonballs were indulgenced by Pope Sixtus V (1521-1590) and the Catholic partisan Philippe III de Croÿ of Aarschot (1526-1595) famously wore one affixed to his hat.

The statue was granted a canonical coronation by Pius IX (1792- 1878) in 1874 and the collegiate church was raised to the status of a minor basilica by Pius XII (1876-1958) in 1946. This holy card was published in the late-19th century for sale to pilgrims as a souvenir of the shrine.
Collection
Accession number
E.510-2018

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Record createdJune 20, 2018
Record URL
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