29 January 2013
GOLDEN MADONNA of ESSEN
The Golden Madonna, so called because it is draped with a [1/100 inch] thick layer of gold, is the oldest known sculpture of the Virgin Mary in Western Europe. It was commissioned by Abbess Mathilde of Essen in 990, when the city consisted of little more than a cloister for unmarried noblewomen and the craftspeople they helped support. The Golden Madonna is the centrepiece of the Essen cathedral’s extensive collection of medieval art, much of which was acquired through the cloister’s close connections with the German imperial families.
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