(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints

Tempera and gold on wood, 172 x 172 cm (main panel)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This is the main panel and lunette from a relatively early work by Raphael, also known as the Colonna Altarpiece, painted for the convent of Sant'Antonio da Padova at Perugia. He began the work when he was barely 20 years old, just before he left for Florence in 1504, and he completed it the following year after he returned to Perugia. The influence of his teacher Perugino can be seen in the conservative composition. Nevertheless, Raphael has infused into the stiffly posed group a breadth and dignity that reflects his knowledge of the work of Fra Bartolommeo in Florence. Particularly beautiful is the way the figures fill the curved shape of the lunette. Flanking the Madonna and Child with the infant Saint John the Baptist are Saints Peter, Catherine, Cecilia(?), and Paul.