Raphael – “Madonna Conestabile”

When Santi wrote Madonna and Child, he was almost seventeen years old. Therefore, this picture does not yet have that classical beauty, that brilliance and pictorial execution, for which the later works of the master were famous. But in the chamber and modest “Madonna and Child” there are other qualities that give it a refined look.

The main feature of the picture is subtle lyricism that permeates the whole picture. He is seen as in the image of the Madonna – still very young and, in a childish way, the naive features of the girl’s face. And also in the pristine landscape that spread softly behind her back. Everything is in a spring mood, everything turns green and buds bloom as signs of new life.

The main feature in the appearance of the Madonna is her brooding clarity of features – the same mood hovers around her. In terms of its chamber nature, this picture resembles a miniature for book publications. Choosing a circle as a form for his work, Raphael naturally builds a composition in a limited space.

The girl fits very harmoniously into this framework. The rounded shape of which perfectly emphasizes the smoothness of the lines of the Madonna’s shoulder, the head covered with a veil, the lines of the second shoulder. The girl’s figure is located strictly in the center. The baby’s body is at the same slope as the mother’s head.

Thanks to this technique, the artist managed to harmoniously combine these two persons into a single composition. The child tries to play, but his mother is fascinated by reading, which also interested the child, so they both turned towards the book. The impression of an ideal peace and quiet is created.

It should also be noted that the frame of the painting was also made according to the artist’s own drawing. These are grotesque ornaments, combined with black and gold colors. Gilded frame, low relief with wood carvings.

Year of painting: 1502.

Dimensions of the painting: 17.5 x 18 cm.

Material: canvas.

Writing technique: tempera.

Genre: religious painting.

Style: High Renaissance.

Gallery: Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

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