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Unesco World Heritage Site

Maulbronn Monastery

Detail of Mary's head with carefully retouched with leftover paint. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown
FROM RESTORATION TO VALUABLE INSIGHTS

THE MAULBRONN

MADONNA

Since 2013, when restoration work was completed, the Maulbronn Madonna has once again been enthroned in the monastery church choir. The carving is made of walnut and was likely created in Cologne between 1307 and 1317. How the precious figure of Madonna with child came to Maulbronn remains a mystery.

Full view of the Madonna. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Dirk Altenkirch

She shines in renewed splendor in the monastery church choir.

A TOWERING MEDIEVAL FIGURE

At 170 cm, her height alone makes the Maulbronn Madonna stand out amongst Madonna figures of the early 14th century. The figure was carved out of the trunk of a walnut tree and has a chamber in its hollow back. Her elegance is also striking, reflected in the flowing folds of her clothing and slight movement. The actual art historical value of the enthroned Mary with child was brought to light through the restoration as well as comparisons at an academic colloquium in 2011.

Restorer Magdalena Schlesinger at work on the Madonna. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Restoration underway.

RESTORER OUSTS WOOD PESTS

Restorer, Dr. Felix Muhle, succeeded in his battle against wood pests within the Madonna figure. To do so, he applied a thermal process in the Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg's restoration workshop. Scientific and restoration examinations were performed by our partners, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart. As her thesis project for the Restoration program, Magdalena Schlesinger analyzed the Maulbronn Madonna.

Original colors painted on the edging. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Original findings: edging along the cloak seam.

ORIGINALLY PAINTED IN BOLD COLORS

Early on, the restoration provided evidence that the figure had originally been painted, with gilding on dress, cloak and hair. The blue cloak lining was embellished to look like squirrel fur. The gilding on the cloak seams was decorated with ornaments and glass stones. Today, the figure is once again a feast for the eyes in Maulbronn Monastery's church choir.