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

Madonna and Child (The Tempi Madonna)

1508
Oil on wood, 75 x 51 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

The sentiment of anxious motherhood, enriched by great awareness, is fully expressed in the Tempi Madonna. The Virgin is holding the Christ Child closely and tenderly. She has eyes only for him, but the Child is looking at the observer, and so draws us into the intimate scene. The rapidly applied colour on the veil, where the paint has been modelled by brush strokes while still wet, shows Raphael using his materials much more freely than in his earlier panel paintings.

The two figures are conceived as a single group, and this fact dominates the scene's visual impact. The only natural elements are a small strip of landscape and the light blue sky in the background. The Madonna's swollen mantle is meant to indicate movement. The extreme synthesis of the colour fields indicates Raphael's idealization of the subject. But the painter's need for formal beauty and the emotional reality of the subject matter are reconciled above all through the tender relationship between Mother and Child.

This panel, which critics place in the year 1508, is included among the works executed after Raphael's contact with Florentine art.




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