Statue of St. Mary with crown and sceptre standing on a sphere with her feet on a serpent, the serpent is impaled by the cross the child is having it its hands.
non statuam aut saxum sed quam designat honora
noch stein noch bild, noch säulen hier
das kind und mutter ehren wir
In 1685, the Kurpfalz (Palatinate), until then a Protestant region, was taken over by the Catholic Philipp Wilhelm von der Pfalz. He (as well as his successor Johan Wilhelm) wanted his subjects to return to Catholic beliefs and tried to encourage conversion by including more Catholic citizens in town and church administration, giving financial incentives to Catholics and starting a religious propaganda campaign. Jesuits supported this campaign by publishing and spreading pamphlets, organizing pilgrimages and processions and erecting Madonna statues wherever they could - one of which is the Madonna of the Kornmarkt.
The Madonna was erected by a Catholic fraternity. When the sovereign officially declared Mary the patron saint of the Catholic belief in the Kurpfalz, the statue became a focal point of religious worship in Heidelberg. The Madonna of the Kornmarkt demonstrates three typical characteristics of this period: Mary is shown as the Queen of Heaven, as a virgin and as a victor. The Prince Elector, in spite of his intentions to convert his "heathen" subjects, failed in changing their religious convictions. Many of the Protestants preferred to emigrate from Heidelberg.
The original statue is in the Kurpfälzische Museum.
Depictions of Saint Mary
Saint Mary, as the mother of Jesus Christ, has a central role in the life of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic veneration of her as the Blessed Virgin Mary has grown over time both in importance and manifestation, not only in prayer but in art, poetry and music.
She is usually depicted as a beautiful young woman, with a (blue) mantle. In the majority of the depictions she is having the Infant Jesus in her arms or on her lap.
Attributes of Saint Mary:
The Infant Jesus sometimes has some attributes too:
- A crown of 12 stars (Relevation 12:1), sometimes 7 stars.
- A royal crown, sometimes also a scepter: Mary Queen of Heaven.
- Standing on a globe.
- Standing on the crescent moon (Relevation 12:1).
- Crushing the serpent (sometimes a dragon) under her feet. The serpent can have an apple in his mouth (Genesis 3:15). A special depiction is where Jesus impales the serpent with a spear-cross.
- Flowers: Lily (symbol of virginity and purity), roses (Mary's mystical participation in the Holy Trinity as Heaven's Rose or Mystical Rose), iris or "Sword Lily" (emblem of Our Lady's Seven Sorrows), fleur-de-lis (resembling both the Iris and the Madonna Lily)
- a crown and/or a royal orb (usually in combination with Mary as Queen of Heaven)
- making a blessing gesture
- Peter van den Branden,
German sculptor in Heidelberg (Works).
Sources & Information
Locatie (N 49°24'42" - E 8°42'42")
Item Code: debw054; Photograph: 26 September 2011
/ updated: 26 September 2012
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt