Pilgrimage to Images in the Fifteenth Century

November 2004
36 black and white, 6 line illustrations
248 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843830559
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BIC ACK, 1DVP, 2AB, 3H, 4P

Pilgrimage to Images in the Fifteenth Century

The Origins of the Cult of Our Lady of Czestochowa

Robert Maniura

A case study of the meaning and purpose of pilgrimage, based on the image of the 'scarred Virgin', Our Lady of Czestochowa.
The tradition of pilgrimage to an image is so well-established as to be taken for granted. Throughout Christian history large numbers of people have made journeys to images associated with miracles, yet the phenomenon has never been a subject of detailed scholarly scrutiny. This book explores the issue through a case study of the origins of pilgrimage to one such image, Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland. The shrine remains one of the most prominent pilgrimage destinations in the Catholic world: the striking focal panel painting shows the Virgin Mary with an apparently scarred face, and the legend of the picture's origin claims that it was painted by St Luke and desecrated by iconoclasts. The author assesses the significance of the stories attached to the shrine, and goes beyond them to consider the practices and responses of the pilgrims. Drawing on the earliest surviving miracle collections, he also explores the interaction between the pilgrims and the image of the 'scarred' Virgin. ROBERT MANIURA is Lecturer in the History of Renaissance Art, Birkbeck College, University of London.


Opens up areas of discussion that will be of value to art historians working outside the medieval and Renaissance fields. [...] A serious consideration of human motivation towards pilgrimage, and of the effect upon the viewing subject of the experience of encountering the sought image. ART HISTORY
An important and stimulating contribution. CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW
A rich book and an important contribution to late-medieval pilgrimage. SPECULUM
[A] fascinating study. THE ART NEWSPAPER