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Madonna in the Meadow

Raphael1505/1506

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

In 1504 the young Raphael came from Perugia to Florence, where Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo dominated artistic life. Especially under the influence of Leonardo’s compositions, the newcomer created a series of Madonna depictions. Particularly in Florence, the Madonna image had experienced a change in function: it was no longer mainly a religious item for practical use, but primarily an exquisite expression of artistic achievement. Raphael gave the Madonna in the Meadow to his Florentine patron Taddeo Taddi as a gift; in 1662 it was acquired at its place of origin by Archduke Ferdinand Karl of Tirol. In keeping with the Sienese type of the Madonna Humilitatis the Virgin Maryis sitting on an elevation on the ground. Supporting the infant Jesus with both hands, she looks at little John the Baptist. The encounter of the two children has been mentioned in Tuscan devotional literature since the late 13th century. The cross is simultaneously a toy, an attribute of John the Baptist and a Passion symbol. The latter is also true of the conspicuously positioned poppy on the right. In the present painting, which was created at the beginning of his series of full-length Madonna depictions, Raphael decided on a strictly geometrical structure: the group is incorporated in an equilateral triangle. However, within the seemingly rigid structure, a lively scene unfolds. Parallel and opposing movements and glances blend with the landscape in the background to create a composition that is in keeping with the demands of the High Renaissance for perfect balance and harmony. © Cäcilia Bischoff, Masterpieces of the Picture Gallery. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 2010

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Details

  • Title: Madonna in the Meadow
  • Creator: Raphael
  • Date Created: 1505/1506
  • Style: Italian Renaissance
  • Provenance: bought 1662 by Archduke Ferdinand Karl
  • Physical Dimensions: w885 x h1130 cm (without frame)
  • Inventory Number: GG 175
  • Artist Biography: Raphael, born Raffaello Sanzio, was crowned the "Prince of Painters" by Giorgio Vasari, a sixteenth-century biographer of artists. From his father, Raphael learned painting; in his native Urbino, he experienced intellectual court life. A year after his father's sudden death, Raphael entered the workshop of Urbino's leading painter at age twelve and quickly surpassed his master. By the age of twenty-one, Raphael had moved to Florence, where he embraced the works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. In Florence, his many paintings of the Madonna and Child display his characteristic human warmth, serenity, and sublimely perfect figures. Raphael's art epitomized the High Renaissance qualities of harmony and ideal beauty. In four years Raphael's fame led to a summons to Rome from Pope Julius II. As painter to the papal court, his work met with high praise, and he established himself as the most favored artist in Rome. He was commissioned to paint portraits, devotional subjects, and the Pope's private rooms; he also designed tapestries. Raphael was soon placed in charge of all papal projects involving architecture, paintings, decoration, and the preservation of antiquities. His untimely death at the age of thirty-seven, Vasari said, "plunged into grief the entire papal court"; the Pope, who "wept bitterly when he died, had intended making him a Cardinal." © J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Type: paintings
  • External Link: http://www.khm.at/en/collections/picture-gallery
  • Medium: Oil on Wood

Additional Items

Madonna in the Meadow (Supplemental)

Madonna in the Meadow (Supplemental)

Madonna in the Meadow (Supplemental)

Madonna in the Meadow (Supplemental)

Madonna in the Meadow (Supplemental)

Madonna in the Meadow (Supplemental)

Madonna in the Meadow (Supplemental)

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