The Black Madonna was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist; and it was while painting the picture, Mary told him about the life of Jesus, which he later incorporated into his gospel.
The next time we hear of the painting is in 326 A.D. when St. Helen found it in Jerusalem and gave it to her son and had a shrine built for it in Constantinople. During a battle, the picture was placed on the walls of the city, and the enemy army fled. Our Lady saved the city from destruction.
The picture was owned by many other people until 1382 when invading Tartars attacked a Prince Ladislaus' fortress, where the painting was located. A Tartar's arrow lodged into through the throat of the Madonna. The Prince transfered the painting to a church in Czestochowa, Poland.
In 1430, the church was invaded and a looter struck the painting two times with his sword, but before he could strike it another time, he fell to the ground in agony and pain, and died. The sword cuts and the arrow wound are still visible on the painting.
Our Lady of Czestochowa (the Black Madonna) was soon made Queen and Protector of Poland. In 1920, Russians were invading Poland, when they saw an image of Our Lady in the clouds, and they withdrew on seeing the image.
Miraculous events such as spontaneous healings have occured for centuries on making pilgrimage to the portrait.
The painting is known as the Black Madonna because of the soot residue that discolors the painting. Centuries of votive lights and candles burning in front of the painting are the cause of the soot.