4 de maio de 2011

Raphael - Sistine Madonna

                                                                 Sistine Madonna - 1513-14
                                                     Germaldegalerie - Dresden - Germany

Raphael dramatic masterpiece known as the Sistine Madonna has a fascinating history that combines church rethoric and the skills of practiced illusionism. Finished shortly before his death, 1513–1514, as a commissioned alterpiece, it was the last of the painter's Madonnas and the last painting he completed with his own hands.It was originally commissioned to decorate the sepulchre of Pope Julius II. The image of Pope Sixtus I, seen at left, was chosen primarily because he was the patron saint of Julius’s clan, the Della Rovere family. St. Barbara painted on the right of the Virgin, inspects the scene with her downward glance towards the two winged putti , who gazed intently at the heavenly proceedings above them. Perhaps the most admired feature of the picture today, the putti, are thought to symbolize the funeral procession. Reproductions of their passive embodiment of childlike curiosity has become very popular and if you have a look at the Florence handcraft shops you’ll find lots of comercial products with these little angels which have become very popular around the world. This, however, should not distract us by undervaluing the brillance of Raphael’s other characters. As the curtains part to revel the ordered and triangular arrangment of the Virgin hosting the Christ child, clowds below out as stage smoke might engulf the modern audience. St. Sixtus, positioned in a humble repose with his papal tiara located at the edge of the painting points outwards to the faithful, confirming his role in this tradition of enduring devotion . The painting was first installed in the Convent of St. Sixtus in Piacenza. It was later donated to Augustus III, king of Saxony. The Sistine Madonna was rescued from destruction during the Bombing of Dresden in World War II  but the conditions in which it was saved, and the subsequent history of the piece are themselves the subject of controversy. The painting was stored, with other works of art, in a tunnel in Saxon, Switzerland when the Red Army encountered them. They took them from war-torn Germany to Moscow for safe keeping, so they say, and only returned to Dresden some years later.
Source: Steven Pullimood, Wikipedia, net

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