Romanesque Virgin found inside walls of Spanish church

romanesque virginA carving of the Virgin Mary, dating to the late twelfth or early thirteeth century, has been found during works on the tower of Utande church, Guadalajara, in central Spain. The work contains much original polychrome, especially in the face. It is most likely it was originally a sedes sapientiae figure, with Christ sitting in her lap.

The statue is currently in a private house in the village, and will probably be sent to the diocesan museum for restoration, where it will ultimately be displayed. The parish priest hopes it may return to the church for feasts, and perhaps that a replica could be made.

It seems possible it was hidden when it became unfashionable, but was kept out of respect for the image. What do fellow medievalists think of this find? Have any similar Romanesque Spanish Madonnas been found in this way? How does she rank among other survivors? Let us know: comment below or email!


Published by James Alexander Cameron

I am an art historian working primarily on medieval parish church architecture. I completed my doctorate on sedilia in medieval England in 2015 at The Courtauld Institute of Art.

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