A Religious Painting Without Religious Label-- Madonna del Prato

Madonna of Belvedere

Madonna of Belvedere

Madonna del Prato was painted by Italian Raphael. This painting totally drew three characters, Madonna, Jesus and John. But the figures did not have a religious label. Christ child and John were painted the images of children. The young Madonna was like the folk mother with two children. The composition was pyramid, which was said to emulate Florence's Leonardo da Vinci. Because this kind of composition was the successful initiative of da Vinci, thus it had a very strong sense of stability.

In this period, Madonna and Christ child painted by Raphael all took the landscape as the background, had the same number of figures and shared the common theme of maternal love. In composition of Pyramid, the little Jesus and little John lying in their mother's bosom twiddled the del Prato, which naturally and appropriately conveyed the affection for the young children.

The three characters in a calm green meadow were linked by their facial looks and touching hands. The Virgin Mary was presented in a contrapposto pose, dressing a gold-bordered blue mantle set against a red dress and with her right leg lying along a diagonal. The blue embodied the church and the red Christ's death, with the Madonna the uniting of Mother Church with Christ's sacrifice. With her eyes fixed on Christ, her head was turned to the left and slightly inclined, and in her hands she held up Christ, as he leaned forward unsteadily to touch the miniature cross held by John. The poppy refers to Christ's passion, death and resurrection.

This painting also reflected many small details of love. Little John and little Jesus twiddled the del Prato—because they nestled Madonna's bosom, their stroking action was so natural and appropriate. Madonna was looking at them with a tiny smile. She held a prayer book with her left hand, but her eyes were watching the children instead of the book. Her right hand stroked the elder child and the left child stepped on the feet of Madonna. These two children leaned against the knee within the mother's arms, which conveyed the maternal care for children's brilliant and intimate physical contact. This was indeed an unusual action to express the special meaning of human emotions and family fun; such a detail was true through Raphael's perfect strokes, and different depictions of environment with different light lines and colors.

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