Joseph-Hugues Fabisch, Our Lady of Lourdes (Grotto) 1864. Marble and paint, Lourdes, France.
The shrine of Lourdes, situated in the French Pyrenees, is one of the best-known modern Marian sites in the world. In 1858, fourteen year-old Bernadette Soubirous reported seeing a young woman who became known as the Virgin Mary.
In 1864 two sisters from Lyon who had visited the site commissioned the well-known Lyons sculptor Joseph Fabisch to carve Soubirous’ vision in marble. It has become an iconographic symbol of Our Lady of Lourdes. It depicts a figure in keeping with traditional representations of the Virgin Mary but was disappointing to Soubirous at the time as she described the Virgin as small like a twelve year old girl.