Ignorant of its existence, it’s easy to pass underneath Prague’s historical Black Madonna statue without noticing it. The artwork is rather modest, adorning a second floor exterior corner of the world’s first cubist building. The statue, which depicts a Black Virgin Mary holding an infant Jesus Christ, is locked behind a golden grille at the similarly named House of the Black Madonna.
The building was designed by Josef Gočár back in 1911 as a department store for a wealthy merchant, but little is known about the origins of the statue. It was removed from the home previously occupying the land. Is the chocolate Virgin Mary an artist simply recognizing people originating from Mary’s part of the world had darker pigmentation? Maybe. Or perhaps she appears like this because her creator worked with materials that produced a final product with this coloring. It’s all entirely up for debate, but the building that holds her is now the home of Czech Cubist Museum.
The location is a great place for architecture buffs to spend an hour, and for photo op enthusiasts to grab epic selfies such as this one taken in the building’s staircase.
As for the Black Madonna, Praha isn’t the only city with one. In fact, there are tons of sculptures, paintings and statues throughout Europe depicting a Black Virgin Mary. France is said to house hundreds of Black Madonnas, and they can be found throughout the Americas and even Japan. To see a robust listing of their locations, click here.