Perched on limestone cliffs, Rocamadour is the site of hundreds of years of pilgrimages as well as a stopover on the Way to Santiago de Compostela. (See Madonna at Midnight in the portfolio, “The Fallen.”) Many notables visited here, including St. Bernard, St. Louis, St. Dominic, Louis XI, Henry II, and Eleanor of Aquitaine. According to legend, a hermit named Zaccheus of Jerico/Amadour installed a Black Madonna attributed to St. Luke in a cave that had been a site of Druid worship and a shrine to Cybele. Carved from walnut and retaining some metal covering this Black Madonna dates from at least the 12th century, and possibly earlier. She is seated in the position of the “Seat of Wisdom” with the infant Jesus seated centrally on her lap rather than on a knee. This birth position is symbolic of Her as the source of Wisdom and power. Isis was also called the “Seat of Wisdom” and was shown with Horus seated in her lap. Madonna and Child are both crowned and are notably primitive in facial appearance and posture. With regal bearing, they look straight ahead without any tender maternal references. This Black Madonna is venerated for freeing captives, promoting fertility, and resuscitating unbaptized babies. Cathars, whose castles are depicted in the portfolio, “The Fallen,” were sent to Rocamadour as penance.

The image was photographed in 1999 at Rocamadour, France, in 35mm format under available light conditions using high-speed transparency film. It is printed on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag archival paper with an Epson 9800 printer using 3-K archival Ultrachrome inks. The mat is 4-ply, museum-quality, acid-free, unbuffered mat board.

The image is printed in the following editions: 25 are 24 x 20 in. (mat size 32 x 29 in.); 50 are 20 x 16 in. (mat size 32 x 29 in.); 100 are 14 x 11 in. (mat size 20 x 17.5 in.) Click on INFORMATION to call or email for prices.