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

Terranuova Madonna

c. 1505
Oil on wood, diameter 86 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

The circle - a perfect form - was popular in the fifteenth and earlier sixteenth centuries as a symbol of cosmic harmony. Raphael used it for the Terranuova Madonna. Here Jesus is shown with the infant Baptist and a third holy infant to the right. The triangular shape formed by Mary and the two standing infants is characteristic of the High Renaissance. A scroll linking the Baptist and Jesus is inscribed in Latin with the words "Behold the Lamb of God," which were pronounced by John at the Baptism of Christ.