„Berlin’s Most Beautiful Madonna“ Returns to the Bode-Museum


After extensive conservation and restoration work (from 2012 to 2022), the Enthroned Virgin and Child is returning to the Bode-Museum’s permanent exhibition. The 92-cm-tall sculpture in walnut is particularly striking due to its graceful posture and ornate carving, as well as the fact that its original coloured finish has been largely preserved. 

Conservator-restorer Marion Böhl conducted detailed examinations of the walnut sculpture, which is thought to have been made in Cologne after 1310. The results revealed new findings about the original techniques used to create the figure and the many changes that were made to it over time. Experts subsequently carried out extensive restoration work on the piece, removing layers of overpainting from later centuries in order to bring the well-preserved original medieval finish back to life.

We can now more clearly see the splendour of Mary’s precious carved and painted garments along with their gilding and imitation gems and fur. This work of art, which was originally conceived as a reliquary, also holds a multitude of secrets – and some of them have now been divulged. Although the relics that were once deposited in the base of the throne have since been lost, Mary’s head still contains objects that were venerated as relics in the Middle Ages.