Niccolini-Cowper Madonna

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Niccolini-Cowper Madonna
Grande madonna cowper.jpg
MediumOil on panel
Dimensions80.7 cm × 57.5 cm (31.8 in × 22.6 in)
LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The Niccolini-Cowper Madonna, also known as the Large Cowper Madonna,[1] is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael, depicting Mary and Child, against a blue sky.

The painting[edit]

The painting may have been the last of Raphael's Florentine paintings before he left for Rome. It is more complex than a similar painting the Small Cowper Madonna of a few years earlier. The Virgin and Child fill the canvas, creating an imposing effect. The two are more closely related, both by positioning of their bodies and their intimacy. Raphael may have derived the talent for creating a natural intimacy through Leonardo da Vinci.[2] The portrayal of the infant's energy is reminiscent of works of Michelangelo.[2] The compelling, playful Child reaches for the Madonna's top as if wanting to nurse.[2] Both paintings bear the name of their former owners.[2]

An inscription on the painting, center right on the border of Madonna's bodice: MDVIII.R.V.PIN tells that it was painted in 1508 by Raphael of Urbino.[3]



Venus with a Satyr and Cupids by Annibale CarracciRaphael, Madonna della Sedia (Madonna of the Chair), c.1514Guido Reni, Charity, 1607Raphael, St John the BaptistReni, MadonnaMadonna della seggiolaCorreggio, Madonna and ChildJustus Sustermans, GalileoRaphael, Madonna of the GoldfinchFranciabigio - Madonna of the WellGuido Reni, Cleopatra, 1635–40Holy Family, then attributed to PeruginoRubens, Justus Lipsius with his Pupils, c.1615Portrait of Leo X with two Cardinals by RaphaelTribute Money? by Carravagio?Rubens, Justus Lipsius with his Pupils, c.1615Raphael, Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici and Luigi de’ Rossi, 1518Niccolini-Cowper Madonna by RaphaelLarge central paintingHolbein, Sir Richard Southwell, 1536Cristofano Allori, Miracle of St JulianHoly Family, attributed to Niccolò Soggiummm Raphael, Niccolini-Cowper Madonna, 1508, then in Lord Cowper’s possession, having bought it from Zoffany, now National Gallery of Art, Washington, DCTitian, Venus of Urbino, 1538Cupid and Psyche, Roman copy of a Greek original of the 1st or 2nd century BCThe ‘Arrotino’ (Knife-Grinder), a Pergamene original of 2nd or 3rd century BCDancing Faun, marble replica of a bronze of the circle of Praxiteles, 4th century BCThe Infant Hercules Strangling the SerpentsThe Wrestlers, marble copy of a bronze Permamene original, 2nd or 3rd century BCSouth Indian craterEtruscan helmetChimera - Etruscan art8 Oil lampsEgyptian ptahmose, 18th dynastyGreek bronze torsoBust of Julius CaeserRoman silver shieldHead of AntinousSouth Italian craterEtruscan jugOctagonal table with pietra dura top made for the Tribuna, designed by Jacopo Ligozzi and Bernardino Poccetti.Charles Loraine Smith (1751–1835)Richard Edgcumbe, later 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (1764–1839)George, 3rd Earl Cowper (1738–89)Sir John Dick (1720–1804), British Consul at LeghornOther Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth (1751–99)Johann ZoffanyMr Stevenson, companion to the Lord LewishamGeorge Legge, Lord Lewisham, later 3rd Earl of Dartmouth (1755–1810)unknown young manValentine Knightley of Fawsley (1744–96)Pietro Bastianelli, the custodian of the galleryMr GordonHon. Felton Hervey (1712–73)Thomas Patch (1725-82), PainterSir John Taylor Bt., (d. 1786)Sir Horace Mann (1706–86), British Consul in FlorenceGeorge Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilseaprob. Roger Wilbraham (1743-1829)Mr WattsMr Doughty, travelling with Charles Loraine SmithProbably Thomas Wilbraham (b. 1751), brother of RogerThe Medici Venus, Roman copy of a Greek original of the 2nd century BCJames Bruce (1730–94), African explorerUse a cursor to explore or press button for larger image & copyright
Cursor can be used to find the painting as Johann Zoffany attempts to sell it to George Clavering-Cowper, 3rd Earl Cowper.

Cowper's art collection absorbed a great deal of his time and money. His most notable possessions are probably the two Cowper Madonna paintings Raphael: Small Cowper Madonna and this painting, the Niccolini-Cowper Madonna. Tribuna of the Uffizi shows Cowper looking at the Niccolini-Cowper Madonna painting as it is offered by Johann Zoffany. Zoffany had purchased the painting from the Niccolini family in 1782 and sold it to Cowper in 1785.[4]


  1. ^ a b Brown, D; Van Nimmen, J (2005). Raphael & The Beautiful Banker: The Story of the Bindo Altoviti Portrait. With the assistance of The Getty Foundation. p. 225. ISBN 0-300-10824-9.
  2. ^ "The Niccolini-Cowper Madonna, Inscription". Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "The Niccolini-Cowper Madonna, Provenance". National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Archived from the original on December 19, 2012. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  4. ^ Samuels, E; Samuels, Jayne (1987). Bernard Berenson, The Making of a Legend. pp. 101, 364. ISBN 0-674-06779-7.

External links[edit]