One version belonging to the Munch Museum of Oslo is stolen, while another is owned by businessman Nelson Blitz.
The title 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.
On Sunday, 22 August 2004, Madonna was stolen from the Munch Museum, Oslo (along with the famous painting The Scream, also by Munch), by masked men wielding firearms. The robbers forced the museum guards to lie down on the floor while they snapped the cable securing the paintings to the wall and escaped in a black Audi A6 station wagon, which police later found abandoned.