Portrayals of the Virgin Mary (usually statues or paintings) that have dark-colored skin are usually referred to as Black Madonna. An icon of the Catholic or Orthodox church, the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus appear to be dark skinned in these representations.
There are about 500 Black Madonnas in Europe, alone, and these are the widely known ones. Others are around the world as well.
What makes this fascinating is the fact that the Virgin is often depicted with fair skin. This, however, makes the Black Madonna different from the norm and many theories have been put forward to explain why.
Some have said the candles around the statues or paintings have gradually darkened them while others are arguing that these depictions were a deliberate attempt by artiste to portray Virgin Mary as a dark-skinned woman. There have been instances where some “miraculous” events have been credited to the Black Madonna.
Here is a list of four popular Black Madonnas.