Sistine Madonna. Essay on a painting by Raphael
Raphael painted this picture around 1516. In General, the Theme of our lady was his favorite. The Sistine Madonna is his main work. In the center of the picture we see the Madonna herself with the son of God.
Some believe that in this picture, she is depicted as the simplest peasant woman, and holds her child as ordinary women held it. Others believe that it is depicted here almost as a miraculous phenomenon to the people.
Her face is not illuminated by Divine light, as in other images of our lady. I think Raphael wanted to show people that Jesus was not just the son of God, but first and foremost a person like all people. And he was born to an ordinary woman, no different from the others.
In her eyes we see sadness, perhaps even doom. It is as if she has a presentiment of impending misfortune.
Jesus is shown as an ordinary child, plump and healthy. But the expression on his face is serious beyond his age. It’s as if he already knows what his mission is.
In the lower right corner we see the old Saint Sixtus. He looks at the Madonna with awe. He bends under the weight of the papal robes, but bows before the simple woman who gave birth to the son of God. With his outstretched hand, he seems to want to say ” appear to the people.”
In the right-hand corner, Saint Barbara bowed before the Madonna. Both of these figures seem to support Maria.
When you first look at the background, it may seem that there are clouds. But if we look closely, we will see that these are the heads of angels looking at the Madonna with Jesus. Everyone wants to see the miracle of the phenomenon.
At the same time, they seem to be trying to protect the little Jesus, and in their eyes you can see not only the joy of what they saw, but also a sense of anxiety, expectation of something. But the shadows of the picture seem to indicate an approaching danger. The dark colors of the picture speak of anxiety and threat. Everything seems to foresee the heavy fate of God’s dream.
The painting has no floor or ceiling. It seems that the Madonna is about to descend from the canvas and appear to the people. It’s like she’s floating above everyone. When you look at this painting in a Museum, you get the impression that the Madonna is coming to meet you. Inexpressible sensation.
Raphael in his painting was able to convey two emotions at the same time. The first is a sense of wonder, admiration and awe for the Madonna and her appearance to the people, the appearance of Christ to the people. The second is longing, sadness, and awareness of the tragic fate of Jesus. The artist masterfully combined two such opposite feelings in one picture.
F. M. Dostoevsky was the main admirer of this picture. Many of the characters in his works are characterized by their attitude to this picture. During the Second world war, the painting almost died.
The fascists wanted to blow it up and other works of art just so that they would not fall into the hands of Soviet soldiers. But the soldiers of the first Ukrainian front, after two months of searching, found it. When they opened the box in which it was kept, they took off their hats in silence, as if in adoration of it.