Raphael and the Sistine Madonna

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

When Raphael concluded a commissioned altarpiece for the Benedictine monks of the Monastery of San Sisto in 1514, he had no way of knowing that his oil painting of the Virgin Mary and Child, flanked by Saint Barbara and Saint Sixtus would become one of the most famous and finest masterpieces of Renaissance art.

It was the last of the painter’s Madonnas and the last painting he completed with his own hands. Legend has it that Raphael received a heavenly vision of the Virgin Mary that he attempted to emulate on his painting.

A                                                                                                                             B

A – A detail from Raphael’s Sistine Madonna  B – A reproduction using the Tattoowall

The painting itself has a rich history which includes its relocation to Dresden in 1754, being stored in a tunnel under questionable conditions during World War II, appropriation by the Soviet regime (who displayed the image as a central piece at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow) and its subsequent return to Germany, where it has been particularly influential. Today the piece can be found at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, the Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden.


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