Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 03 December |
Saint of the Day: St. Francis Xavier
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Madrid fisherman stumbles upon 14th-century statue of Madonna and Child

MARY STATUE

Asociación para a defensa do Patrimonio Cultural Galego | Facebook | Fair Use

J-P Mauro - published on 06/19/20

The mysterious statue may have come from a lost church on the Camino de Santiago.

A man fishing for trout on the Sar River in Spain has discovered a medieval statue depicting the Blessed Mother sitting upon a throne with the infant Jesus on her lap.

Smithsonian Magazine reports that Fernando Brey nearly walked right past the moss-covered stone figure as it jutted out of the water. Realizing it was no river rock, he snapped a few pictures and got in contact with a member of the local heritage association, who suggested that it could be as much as 700 years old.

In an interview with La Voz de Galicia, a local Spanish newspaper, Brey explained:

“I noticed the stone was square, which is odd in a river, and then I looked at its lines, at the cape and at the shape of the head. And I said to myself, ‘There’s something here.’”

The artwork also depicts an angel on either side of the Blessed Mother, drawing a cloak or similar garment around Mary’s shoulders. Decorative leaves and flowers are carved in weaving patterns around the base.

The carving has been damaged by time and water, but there has also been extensive damage to the faces of Madonna and Child. An official from Galicia suggested, in a statement provided by The Guardian, that these damages may not have been from erosion. He said:

“The face of the Virgin is gone, as is the head of the child,” the statement added. “This is probably due to an old impact inflicted in an attempt to desanctify the piece.”

It is unclear from where the statue originated, but its proximity to the final stop on the Camino de Santiago suggests that it may have belonged to a lost pilgrimage church.

The statue has been removed from the river and taken to the Museum of Pilgrimage and Santiago for cleaning and study.

Tags:
ArchaeologyArtCatholicHistory
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FATHER JOHN FIELDS
John Burger
Priest who volunteered for COVID-19 vaccine t...
John Paul II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's guide to a fruitful Advent
ADVENT
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to be watchful during Advent
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.