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

The Holy Family with a Lamb

Oil on wood, 29 x 21 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

This small picture for private devotion belongs to Raphael's years in Florence, after he had moved from Umbria but before he went to Rome. There he was keen to absorb the style particularly of Leonardo, and of other artists such as the young Michelangelo. But the miniaturist delicacy and serenity of this work recall his early formation under the influence of the Umbrian master Perugino, and there is definitely also a knowledge of Netherlandish painting, particularly clear in the landscape.

There are several versions of this picture, which all show the Virgin holding Christ riding on a lamb while the elderly Joseph presides over the family. This version, in Madrid, was later marked with the words RAPHAEL URBINAS MDVII on the Virgin's décolleté. As Pedretti has pointed out, the version in Vaduz is dated 1504, and signed, so that it may be considered the original.