Our Lady of Mercy (Schutzmantelmadonna)
Parish church, Maria Gail, Austria
Schutz is German for "protection" or "refuge," and in Germany and Austria Our Lady of Mercy is commonly referred to as Maria Schutz or Schutzmantelmadonna. In this example she carries the Christ Child on her arm, which is common in Germany and Austria but very rare elsewhere.
As usual in this genre, Mary has a crown, angels attend above her shoulders, and a multitude shelters beneath her mantle. Many other examples are like this one in portraying those people as of the respectable sort – a king, a queen, a monk, a nun, a bishop, perhaps an abbess standing beside the bishop, and a few well-dressed commoners.
The central composition is flanked by SS. Sebastian and Roch. Both these saints were considered important intercessors against the plague. Their presence suggests a similar role for Our Lady of Mercy. In eastern Austria a pilgrimage church with the name Maria Schutz was built to commemorate the Virgin Mary's intercession against plague for the people of nearby Schottwien.1
At the far left and right are St. Peter (holding keys) and St. John the Evangelist (eagle at his feet).
More of Our Lady of Mercy
More of St. Sebastian
More of St. Roch
Source: Wikimedia Commons
1 "Maria Schutz," German Wikipedia, retrieved 2018-01-25.