Our Lady of Mercy (Schutzmantelmadonna)

Circa 1600
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).

Read more about images of Our Lady of Mercy.
Read more about images of St. Sebastian.
Read more about images of St. Roch.

Source: this page at Wikimedia Commons.

1 "Maria Schutz," German Wikipedia, retrieved 2018-01-25.