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

Madonna della Tenda

Oil on wood, 65,8 x 51,2 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Many critics associate the composition of the Madonna della Seggiola (Sedia) with that of the Madonna della Tenda (so called because of the green curtain that has been drawn to one side, and which forms the background) in the Alte Pinakothek of Munich. Here again the Madonna is shown in a three-quarters view with the Child and the young St John. But a relationship exists among the figures which is absent in the Madonna della Sedia. The Virgin smiles at her Child, whose attention is turned toward St John. The face of the latter bears an expression of loving devotion.

The authenticity of the painting is no longer in question. What remains controversial is whether it was executed before or after the Madonna della Sedia.

By comparing Raphael's mature works to one another, one detects a process of continuous growth, of stylistic evolution. The elements used are always new, as is the pictorial style. But the master's extraordinary capacity to harmonize the composition and the formal beauty of the figures, made more evident by the expression of serene emotion, are unifying motifs.