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Madonna of Zbraslav

Madona zbraslavská, Národní galerie v Praze

Madonna of Zbraslav

The Madonna of Zbraslav comes from the parish church of St James the Greater in Zbraslav, a municipal district of Prague. This painting is in the tradition of earlier Italian-Byzantine examples of the Madonna and Christ art. However, this composition presents a more human and intimate relationship between the mother and child. In the previous er Byzantine examples, the mother offers the child as an object of worship.

The Madonna has a white head covering and a bright blue cloak with green lining decorated with gold stars. The Madonna’s cloak and veil and the sheer shirt of the child are embellished along their hems with gold embroidery. The gilded gold background is decorated with curly vines and leaves. The stones and pearls on the crown, halos, hems and clasp are mounted over the paint and to provide a raised texture to the icon.

The origin of this picture is not known. However, tradition states that the picture was dedicated to the monastery by its founder King Wenceslaus II (1278–1305). In 1420 the monastery was burned down by the Hussites, a pre-Protestant Christian movement, and the picture was found two hundred years later in the rubble, restored and exhibited in a newly built church in 1654.

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Madonna of Zbraslav

  • Title:                        Madonna of Zbraslav
  • Čeština:                   Zbraslavská madona
  • Artist:                      Unknown
  • Year:                        ca. 1340–1350
  • Medium:                Tempera, beech-wood on both sides covered with canvas
  • Dimensions            89 cm × 60.5 cm (35 in × 23.8 in)
  • Museum:                National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic
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    “May the Lord grant me a sword and no need to use it.”Czech Proverbs

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    Photo Credit: 1) Narodni galerie v Praze [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons