The Sistine Madonna in the Royal Gallery at Dresden, Saxony Essay

The Sistine Madonna in the Royal Gallery at Dresden, Saxony Essay

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The Sistine Madonna in the Royal Gallery at Dresden, Saxony

The most beautiful picture in the world is the Sistine Madonna in the
Royal Gallery at Dresden, Saxony. It was painted by Raphael as an
altar-piece for a church in Piacenza, Italy. In a far corner of the
great Palace of Art it is now placed, probably to remain until the
colors shall fade. It is the only picture in the room. The figures are
of life size. When that room is entered all voices are hushed, and all
merriment silenced. The place is as holy as a church.

In the centre of the canvas is the Virgin Mother with a young, almost
girlish face or surpassing loveliness. In her eyes affection and
wonder are blended, and the features and the figure are the most
spiritual and beautiful in the world's art.

I have wondered where Raphael found that face. It is not voluptuous
like the Italian, nor heavy like the German, nor light like the
French, nor cold like the women of more northern nations. It is the
ideal woman's face for all nations and ages, and yet it is typical of
none.

In the Mother's arms is the Divine Child, with those strange,
far-away-looking eyes that casual visitors so little understand—eyes
that even in babyhood seem reading the future, and beginning to see
the greatness of the world's sorrow. Kneeling on one side, below them,
is St. Sixtus, the nearest perfect of all pictures of strong and
venerable age that was ever painted; on the other side Santa Barbara,
only less beautif...

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