Uta von Ballenstedt
Margravine of Meissen
Born c. 1000 — Died pre-1046
Uta was a member of the House of Ascania. Through her marriage to Margrave Eckard II, she was the Margravine of Meissen in Saxony, eastern Germany.
Presumably to promote the rise of the Ascanian dynasty, Uta’s father married her to Eckard II in about 1026. However, the marriage produced no children, resulting in the extinction of the Ekkeharding dynasty.
The couple contributed a significant amount to construct what would become the Naumburg Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.
When the Cathedral was completed in the mid-13th century, the presiding bishop honoured the founders, Ekkehard, Uta and 10 other nobles by commissioning the anonymous ‘Naumburg Master’ to produce life-size painted statues of them to adorn the cathedral. The sculptures are remarkable as secular rather than biblical decorations for the cathedral, particularly as they depict nobles rather than kings or emperors. The depictions are now generally considered masterpieces of Gothic art.
In the 20th century, the statue of Uta was used by the Nazi’s as a prototype of the ideal Aryan woman, even appearing as an Aryan role model in Fritz Hippler’s propaganda film The Eternal Jew.
It is also believed that the statue inspired the depiction of the Evil Queen in Disney’s 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You be the judge!
NB: the dates from when her image was used to depict a ‘Teutonic Madonna’ in various Nazi propaganda makes me wonder if that was why her likeness was used to represent an evil character in the Disney film. Just a thought!