Raphael: The Madonna of the Candelabra

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Raphael: The Madonna of the Candelabra
During the Italian Renaissance Raphael was one of the most influential artists. He painted many brilliant pieces, mastering the use of depth, perspective, and the use of shadow and light. Throughout his life, Raphael used the Madonna as a reoccurring subject in his work. One example of this subject is the Madonna of the Candelabra. This dark shadowy portrayal exemplifies the pure and humanistic ideals of the Madonna that made Raphael’s versions so well known and loved throughout the ages. The timeless beauty and grace that he captured and the realistic qualities of his work are unparalleled.
The Madonna of the Candelabra is oil on panel, a medium common to the time. It was completed between 1513 and 1514, and stands 25 3/16 by 25 7/8 inches. The Madonna of the Candelabra is a part of the permanent collection of the Walters Art Museum located in Baltimore, Maryland. When purchased by collector Henry Walters in the early 1900’s it was the first Raphael Madonna to be incorporated into an American collection(www.thewalters.org). This painting was originally in the Borghese Collection in Rome, and changed hands numerously before it reached its present location(Camesasca 111). The way that Raphael positioned the Christ Child and Mary suggests that she was looking towards the infant John the Baptist that originally occupied the lower right of the painting. This conclusion comes from an earlier documentation of the original work. Although recognized as authentic, the exact compilation of artists that contributed to

this work has been scrutinized(Camesasca 112).
Throughout his portrayals of the Madonna, Raphael seems to strive to create a lifelike image that would actually personify the Virgin to the viewer, rather than to put her out of reach by describing her as an object and not a human being. Most of his Madonnas are a...

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...Her gaze is either cast downward, in the case of the Madonnas of the Candelabra and the Fish. Stylistically, however, the Madonna of the Fish is much more in depth including greater detail than what can be seen in the cropped version. This is largely due to the way that the Madonna of the Candelabra has been made into a circle deleting perhaps another character, probably John the Baptist, as earlier noted.
Although Raphael lived a relatively short life, he completed some of the most beloved paintings that have withstood the ultimate test of time. The way that he gave the viewer an intimate look into the person called “The Madonna” was like no other. He gives her a quality of life and realness that no other artist has been able to capture since that time.
Works Cited

Camesasca, Ettore. All The Paintings of Raphael. New York: Hawthorn Books,INC,1963.

Pope-Hennessy, John. Raphael. New York University Press, 1970.

WWW.thewalters.org. 2002.

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