The image of Our Lady of Montserrat, popularly known as La Moreneta (the Dark One), due to the dark colour of Her skin, is a truly beautiful 12th century Romanesque polychrome carving. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed Our Lady of Montserrat Patron Saint of Catalonia in 1881.
In 1947, the image was enthroned in a silver altarpiece, paid for by popular subscription and installed in the upper section of the basilica apse.
Artistically, the image imitates a popular model, that of Our Lady in Majesty, with a wholly frontal attitude and Baby Jesus on Her lap in the centre. Both Mother and Child are wearing crowns.
The figure of Our Lady stretches out Her right hand, which holds the globe, symbolising the cosmos. Our Lady nearly rests Her left hand on the Child’s shoulder, indicating that this omnipotent king is Her Son. With His right hand, the Child gives a blessing, whilst His left hand holds a pinecone, symbol of fertility and everlasting life.