Schöne Madonnen (Beautiful Madonnas), type of devotional figure characteristic of the International Style from 1390 until around 1420/25; mainly in sculpture form, of Bohemian origin. The works of Austrian wood carvers became known far beyond the Austrian borders. The Schöne Madonnen, standing Virgins with Child, were mostly worked in cast stone or in wood, usually in half-life size and in white, blue and red. Gilding was often used sparingly at the hems. Characteristic of the Schöne Madonnen is their S-shaped body, emphasising the trailing leg and the standing leg. This three-dimensional sense of movement is picked up and accentuated by the garment, which softly "flows" around the body. It is characterised by deep bowl-shaped folds and clusters of cascading tubular folds without any bends, breaks or creases. Individual types of Schöne Madonnen are often distinguished by the position of the Child. The Schöne Madonna of Krumau (around 1395-1400, today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna), made in Bohemia, is considered the masterpiece of this style. The province of Salzburg was the centre of Schöne Madonnen art in Austria. A number of first-class works originated there, among the most beautiful are the "Tannmadonna" from Altenmarkt im Pongau (around 1390-1393, of Bohemian origin), the "Hallstätter Madonna" (around 1405, Prague National Gallery), the madonna from the Franciscan monastery in Salzburg (around 1410) and the "Unterauracher Madonna" (around 1410/20, Tirol Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck). These statues show the typical characteristics of the International Style: idealised grace, charming appearance, soft flow of lines and folds and soulful stylisation.
Literature: Schöne Madonnen 1350-1450, exhibition catalogue, Salzburg 1965; G. Schmidt, Gotische Bildwerke und ihre Meister, 2 vols., 1992.