Schone Madonna is a German term meaning "Beautiful Madonna". This image possibly originated as a response to new ways to practice religion, and in particular, worship of the Virgin in a more personal manner. Three examples of this representation include the Roudnice Madonna, the Madonna of Krumau, and the Jihlava Pieta.
The Roudnice Madonna, a 35 1/2" x 26 1/4" panel constructed in approximately 1400, effectively shows the focus on amore soft and attractive Mary than seen in previous depictions. Using chiaroscuro, the artist modeled a beautiful face for the Virgin. The Christ child is more at ease than ever, relaxing comfortably with his mother. The drapery of the Virgin's gown, similarly seen on the statues of this type, are full and rhythmic, extending to the wrist. This image of Mary is considered to be the finest image developed by the Bohemian sculptors, likely created for South Bohemian courts.
This new Madonna developed roots from the intense level of worship for the Virgin Mary at this time in history in Europe. There was a new desire to show this idol as a beautiful princess, not as a humble servant or out-of-reach queen. The Schone Madonna became the Bohemian feminine ideal.
The three basic prototypes for the "Beautiful Madonna", Krumau, Thorn, and Breslau, are all very similar, with graceful postures, made of the same material, approximately the same height, and around the same time period. Of these, the Madonna of Krumau is considered the best and most famous. A stone sculpture, 4'3", dating to approximately 1390-1400, it was created by a Bohemian artist who focused on Schone Madonna figures. This piece "embodies the beau ideal as the chaste princess of the Late Gothic age." (p.31 textbook) Mary has a poised head on a long neck emerging from narrow shoulders, with a charming face and high forehead. Her long fingers gently, but firmly grasp her young son, while he makes eye contact with the viewer. The Madonna's drapery is poetic in...
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