PENNI, Giovan Francesco
(b. ca. 1496, Firenze, d. ca. 1528, Napoli)

Madonna with the Blue Diadem

Oil on panel, 68 x 48 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Although there are several artists involved in the creation of this painting, the composition is almost certainly that of Raphael. Due to the use of bright, acid colours and the porcelain-like finish, it is thought that the finishing of the composition may have been the work of one of his pupils, Giovan Francesco Penni.

The painting is similar to the Madonna of Loreto (Musée Condé, Chantilly), featuring the symbolic lifting of the veil. Here the Virgin lifts the veil over the sleeping Child, who is turned toward the audience, with her other arm around the young John the Baptist, who has a reed across his shoulder. Both the Virgin and John are in profile. Attached to a blue diadem, a veil that flows down her head, across her shoulders and clings to her arms. A draped tunic, belted at the waist, flowing overtop her red underdress.