The painting displays a traditional composition derived from the icons of Eastern Orthodoxy. The Virgin Mary is shown as the "Hodegetria" ("One Who Shows the Way"). In it the Virgin directs attention away from herself, gesturing with her right hand toward Jesus as the source of salvation. In turn, the child extends his right hand toward the viewer in blessing while holding a book of gospels in his left hand.
One of the oldest documents from Jasna Góra states that the picture travelled from Jerusalem, via Constantinople, to finally reach Czestochowa in August 1382. The Black Madonna is credited with miraculously saving the monastery of Jasna Gó ra (English: Bright Mount) from a Swedish 17th Century invasion, The Deluge, which actually changed the course of the war. This event led King Jan Kazimierz to "crown" Our Lady of Czestochowa ("the Black Madonna") as Queen and Protector of Poland in the cathedral of Lwó w on April 1, 1656. This legend was however created much later than the actual events, as in reality the icon had been taken away well in advance so as to prevent it from falling into the hands of the advancing Swedish army.
Another legend concerning the Black Madonna of Czestochowa is that the presence of the holy painting saved its church from being destroyed in a fire, but not before the flames darkened the fleshtone pigments. The legend concerning the two scars on the Black Madonna's right cheek is that a Hussite robber drew his sword upon the image and inflicted two deep strikes. When the robber tried to inflict a third strike, he fell to the ground and squirmed in agony until his death. Despite past attempts to repair these scars, they had always reappeared.*