The title "Madonna" suggests a depiction of Mary, the mother of Jesus, although it is a highly unusual representation of Mary, who until the 20th century was usually represented in high art as a chaste, mature woman. The figure in this painting appears to be young, perhaps a teenager, and is sensualized, if not eroticized, by her twisting, expressive pose. She stretches her arms behind herself and arches her back, increasing the viewer's consciousness of her physical body. Yet even in this unusual pose, she embodies some of the key elements of canonical representations of the Virgin: she has a quietness and a calm confidence about her. Her eyes are closed, expressing modesty, but she is simultaneously lit from above; her body is seen, in fact, twisting toward the light so as to catch more of it, even while she does not face it with her eyes. These elements suggest aspects of conventional representations of the Annunciation. (source)
From today's news:
Two years after the Edvard Munch masterpieces The Scream and Madonna were stolen from the Munch Museum, Oslo Police recovered the two masterpieces in a bold daylight raid, according to the authorities. The works are in a much better than expected condition, announced the police in a press conference. Police stated that they think the works were in Norway all the time, although they did not reveal where they found the works. According to Iver Stensrud, head of the Oslo Police District's organized crime division, no ransom nor reward was paid.
The works were stolen from the Munch Museum on August 22, 2004. So far, no arrests have been made. "The Scream" is valued at around $81 million and "Madonna" at $100 million.
Gro Balas, director of culture for the city of Oslo, said, "I am, on behalf of Oslo's entire population, both relieved and happy." She later said the paintings are owned "by everyone," and that "the whole world has an option on these paintings."
Ingebjørg Ydstie, acting leader of the Munch Museum in Oslo, stated "I feel a great sense of joy on behalf of the museum and a whole world of art lovers. This is a big day."