On January 19, 1794, French Revolutionary soldiers removed the Virgin of Le Puy-en-Velay from the high altar of her cathedral and stripped the statue of its mantle and jewels. Six months later, on June 8th, they seized the statue from her hiding place in the archives of the cathedral cloister and dragged her in a manure cart to the town hall. There, the statue was burned in a bonfire. 2 Although this event does not represent an isolated instance of iconoclasm during the French Revolution, the destruction of this statue was especially traumatic for Catholic France because the Virgin of Le Puy had been a pre-eminent object of devotion and pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. In 1856, a new “Notre-Dame du Puy” was installed in the cathedral and seems to have inherited all the miracle-working properties of her predecessor (Plate 1). Although the transfer of title has preserved the status of this sculpture, it does not entirely resemble known representations of the original. Nevertheless, both statues, at least for some part of their lives, represent a type of Marian image with dark skin known now as a Black Madonna (vierge noire). This attribute thus seemed to satisfy its faithful’s expectations for a suitable replacement. The transmission of spiritual identity onto a new sculpture thus speaks to the potency of the cult statue as one that refuses materiality, and yet it is precisely the materiality of the sculpture that led to its eventual destruction. The Virgin of Le Puy thus represents an intriguing biography of an object whose image changed both before and after its physical destruction, and which continues to live on through the continuity of her cult.