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The Black Madonna: A Folkloristic and Iconographic Investigation

The Black Madonna: A Folkloristic and Iconographic Investigation


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by Joe Nickell
Volume 39.5, September/October 2015

Investigative Files

One of the most famous of true icons (traditional religious panel paintings) is the so-called Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Poland (Figure 1). Its notoriety was boosted when, following his election to the papacy, the “Polish Pope” John Paul II prayed before it on a visit in 1979. For an international History Channel series, Miracles Decoded, I was asked to look into the icon’s origins. I