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Artist: Raffaello Sanzio, also called Raphael 1 of 1

Madonna and Child with Book, c. 1502-03

Raffaello Sanzio also called Raphael

Italian, 1483-1520
Oil on panel
21-3/4 x 15-3/4 in. (55.2 x 40 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1972.2.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

In this painting, the balanced, serene figures are described simply and naturally. A lucid geometry organizes the composition, from the pyramidal grouping of the Madonna and Child to the geometric idealization of their faces and bodies. The deep, blue arch of the Madonna's silhouette encloses the figure of the Child and frames the book, which is further emphasized by the touching hands that hold it. The inscription in the book introduces the ninth hour, or Nones of the Canonical Offices, recited daily by all monastic communities. The Nones commemorates Christ's Crucifixion and Death. With eyes turned to heaven, the Christ Child contemplates His own sacrifice as man's Redeemer. Raphael has depicted more than just a beautiful image of the Madonna and Child -- he has created a meditation piece. The profoundly spiritual quality achieved by Raphael explains why his Madonnas were in such high demand.

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Artist: Raffaello Sanzio, also called Raphael 1 of 1