Raffael - Sistine MadonnaOil on coat, 1512/1513, 256 x 196 cm, Art Gallery in Dresden

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The masterpiece of Raffael in Detail!

Raffael - Sistine Madonna

The Sistine Madonna is one of the most popular works in the art history. In 1512 Sixtina was painted by Raffael as an altarpiece of the monastery church in San Sisto. Upon request by August III. the work was being transferred in the 18th century to Dresden and is probably the most central work in the old picture gallery of the state capital. Perfectly composed in line with the golden cut, Mary is facing us as an epiphany, the physical appearance in full human size and shape. The condition between a hovering and a progressing movement emphasizes her godly grandeur. Mary wears a simple robe in traditional colors. By wrapping the veil around her child she shows the close relationship they have. Her forward-looking viewing direction includes the observer into the happenings.

In the left edge of the picture you can see the Saint Sisto, Patron Saint and name giver of the church in San Sisto. As an attribute Raffael provides him with the tiara on his side. With the right hand he shows outside the picture to the monks living in San Sisto. Also the Holy Barbara on the right side of the pictures ranks as a patron saint. Her gesture und the introversive glance symbolize an active inwardness. Raffael chose a detailed colouring to disperse the closed figure. The merging of the raised Mother Mary with the Christ child in the presence of Saints is called „sacra conversazione“. A communication, as this term may indicate, does not have to take place.

In the front of the pictorial ground are the word famous and widely quoted angels portrayed. Through their childlike, human display they symbolize the threshold to the earthly world and create another bridge to the viewer. The angels were added later to the picture by Raffael as he noticed during the painting process that he was missing a compositional main focus in the bottom part of the picture.

Raffael succeeded with the Sixtina and the image side by side of earthly and heavenly elements to create a sensual, comprehensible altarpiece, which portrays the first step to a completely new enactment of the transfiguration of Christ.

© the artinspector / anne mrosowksi