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After Raphael Sanzio - Sistine Madonna

After Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520), Italian
Sistine Madonna, undated copy
OIL ON CANVAS, 41 x 31 ½ inches
Gift of Mrs. Theodora Willard Best

Raphael's Sistine Madonna was originally painted around 1512-14 for the high altar of the Church of St. Sixtus (to whom the word "Sistine" refers) in Piacenza, a town in north­western Italy. The dramatic lighting and dynamic composition are typical of the artist's later work—a relative term given that the artist died at age thirty-seven—and convey a sense of immediacy and direct engagement with the viewer not seen earlier. The resemblance between the kneeling figure of the third-century Pope Sixtus II in Raphael's composition to his patron, Pope Julius II, may have been an intentional gesture of flattery.