Small Cowper Madonna
|Type||Oil on panel|
|Dimensions||59.5 cm × 44 cm (23.4 in × 17 in)|
|Location||National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.|
It is thought that Raphael painted this as a wedding present for someone. Religious artworks, such as the Madonna and Child made popular gifts on special occasions around the time of the Renaissance as people had a new appreciation of art.
Sitting in the center of the work in a bright red dress is the Madonna. She is fair skinned with blonde hair. She sits comfortably on a wooden bench. Across her lap is a dark drapery upon which her right hand delicately sits. Interestingly, there appears to be a sheer translucent ribbon elegantly flowing across the top of her dress and behind her head. The faintest golden halo miraculously surrounds her head. In her left hand she holds the baby Christ, who embraces her with one arm around her back, the other around her neck. He, an undeniably precious child, looks back over his shoulder with a coy smile. Behind them, a beautifully clear and bright day unfolds. Off in the distance two figures appear to be ambling toward a reflective pond, enjoying the green scenery around them. A large and very impressing structure stands at the end of a long path, which one could presume to be a Catholic church. Its dome and other structural elements common of Catholic architecture add to the already omnipresent atmosphere of religious divinity and grace.
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