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Raphael and the Madonna

The Virgin Mary features in more Renaissance paintings than any other subject, yet Raphael’s Sistine Madonna towers over them all in artistic and theological significance. A groundbreaking accomplishment, Raphael’s Madonna breaks through clouds, flanked by saints, while two famously wistful cherubim look up from an unseen altar. In Raphael and the Madonna, Stephan Koja illuminates the pivotal place of this masterwork in the aesthetic and religious debates of the sixteenth century.

Like the Renaissance itself, whose spontaneity owes a debt to medieval artistry, so Raphael’s Madonna has humble beginnings. Raphael attempted to paint the Virgin countless times before achieving his magnum opus. Attending to these early portraits, Raphael and the Madonna traces the evolution of Raphael’s idiosyncratic style alongside the continuing popularity of early Renaissance masters, such as Botticelli and Mantegna. Part critical biography and part art history, this book offers a new perspective on Raphael’s career as well as on the Italian Renaissance at large.

152 pages | 99 color plates | 7 3/4 x 10

Art: European Art

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