The Beautiful Madonna from Leogang was probably created in 1400 in Salzburg and is in lime sandstone. She is in the style of the Beautiful Madonna from Pilsen from around 1375 and firmly rooted in the later tradition of the Southern German ‘Parler’ workshops. This term comes from Peter Parler, a medieval German sculptor and important cathedral architect who mainly worked in Prague.
Of all the Salzburg Beautiful Madonnas, the Madonna from Leogang is closest in style to the Madonna in Front of the Fir (TXTL1) in Altenmarkt in Pongau, first documented in 1392.
The Beautiful Madonna from Leogang stands in a distinctive S-pose upon the plinth. She is wearing a robe with a V-neck and inset. The robe reveals the point of her right shoe and its rich folds spill on to the plinth. Over it hangs the formerly gold-plated mantle with a blue lining, with cascading folds on either side.
Mary’s right hand, which probably once held a sceptre, and the right leg of the Infant Jesus create these symmetrical cascades of blue folds. The mantle creates a main fold in front of the body.
At chest height, the formerly white, ruffled hem of the Virgin’s veil is being bunched up in both hands of the Infant Jesus. The eyes of both figures are almond-shaped with thinly drawn brows. Mary is gazing upon the Infant Jesus with a gentle smile. In this way the artist goes beyond the religious theme and expresses perfectly the intimate relationship between mother and child.
It is possible that the Beautiful Madonna from Leogang once wore a taller crown - like that of the Madonna from Altenmarkt - on her thin circlet. The extremely realistic representation, how Mary’s hand is pressing into the body of the Infant Jesus, almost causes you to forget that this is a stone statue and not the soft skin of a child.
Whereas standing Madonnas were the focus of 14th century Marian devotion in Pinzgau, in Zell am See and Maria Alm enthroned Madonnas were venerated.