Madonna of Lord (cultural)
The current image of the Virgin is a polychrome carving of 1’10 m. height. What is, briefly, the history of the image? The first news of the chapel of St. Mary in the mountains of the Lord are from 989 with the purchase that made the Levite Cixila to the Count of Urgel, but there are no information about the image that was in this chapel. In all likelihood was built to house the image was found, so it was not a painting but a sculpture that surely was not the actual image.
An objective historical fact is that in Spain there is no pictures or paintings of the Virgin before the tenth century, which does not mean they do not exist, simply that we have not reached. Therefore, the image that was in the chapel of St. Mary de Lord was lost.
Until the seventeenth century we have not documented and reliable news of the shape and characteristics of the image of Lord. It is the Father Camos who gives us valuable information that corresponds to the current image. He writes: “It has been made recently.” His visit to the Sanctuary of Lord occurred around the year 1650.
The study made by iconography experts indicates for their general layout and especially for the position of the child Jesus standing on the knee of the Mother, the folds of her gown and serene expression on the face, which has no stylistic influences from the main production centers of icons, but on the other hand is a size too well made to be the work of a local artist…
All this makes us think that we have a gothic carving on the second half of the sixteenth century by an artist who did not belong to any of the major schools of that time. The question, however, is: the current image is what the Father Camos saw in Lord? Is it a replica of that? What happened during the wars of the nineteenth century? When in 1836 the troops of Queen Maria Cristina fire the Sanctuary, What happened to the image? The chronicles tell us that then enabled a chapel in the Sanctuary, and therefore there should be a sculpture, but again in 1840 the cult is suspended by destruction of the chapel and the disappearance of the favored image, what happened then?
Seven years after the destruction the Virgin of Lord was worshiped in a side chapel of the parish of Sant Llorenç de Morunys, where was it and what happened in these seven years? Here all the explanations are hypothetical but, a new image was made because the previous one had burned? Was it possible to save the old image and then the damage repaired? We can trace the image venerated in Sant Llorenç from 1847 until today.
When in 1870 the new Sanctuary is open the new image is uploaded there in solemn procession from the parish to the church of the Sanctuary. There will no longer move to the Spanish civil war. It was the year 1937 when it was moved to the Museum of Solsona, and in January 1939 began their exodus to France. By circumstances of war remained in the border, where once retrieved, in October 1939, was transferred to Barcelona, after going through the workshops of his former restaurateur, Mr. Renart, and stay a few days in the house of Monegal family, rebuilders of the Sanctuary. In August 18th, 1940 back to take his throne in the Sanctuary of his name, which continues to this day.
We can not ignore the views of Mr. Renart who in 1923 went to the Sanctuary and resided for a month to undertake a restoration of the image.
He was a certified restorer of Barcelona, and he had the opportunity to closely observe the lines and the size of the sculture and he had no doubt that it was a sculpture of several centuries old.
We should think that the image escaped the burning and destruction of 1836 and it would be Father Camos saw in the eighteenth century, although perhaps with some major repair, as the current image have, around the neck, a paint small crack, indicating that the head and torso are not in one piece, but the juxtaposition of two boards.
We can not conclude this short historical overview of the image without including the latest research and published pamphlets.
These come mainly from Mr. Ballbé, compiler into two valuable volumes of black virgin of Spain, among them the Madonna of Lord.
Mr. Ballbé, aware of the existence of the image of a Virgin in the house of a priest of Barcelona, visited him and found a size proportions and appearance identical to those described by Father Camos about the Madonna of Lord. This had no crown and had been removed all the polychrome black color.
Recording the provenance inquired that the image had been hidden for a long time in the home of an individual and that he, before his death, remorse ordered his sons to hand over the image to a priest of Barcelona.
Is this the real Madonna of Lord so elusive during the nineteenth century? Mr. Ballbé thinks so. And the image that is currently in the Sanctuary, is a copy without the tradition has been echoed?
Only a thorough scientific analysis of the image can resolve the issues raised.
Meanwhile, the Blessed Virgin, always alive and original in the hearts of all the faithful, bring us all to contemplate one day her heavenly picture.