Madonna Of Raphael And Bellini Essay Research

Madonna Of Raphael And Bellini Essay, Research Paper


subject matter of Maddona and Child was a very popular one for artists of the

sixteenth century. Rapahel, and Giovanni Bellini both painted numerous versions

of the Maddona and Child. While both of the artists viewed the subject as a

religious and highly emotional expression, their portrayal of many other aspects

differed greatly. While Raphael portrayed what seems to be a loving, warm

relationship between mother and child, a lifelike Christ child, and serenity

within his paintings, Bellini portrayed a relationship that seems distant

relationship between mother and child, a deathlike image of the Christ child and

a sense of depression and uneasiness within his works. Differences between the

views of the artists on the portrayal of Maddona and Child can clearly be seen

through the artists’ use of colour, backgrounds in which the figures are placed,

the poses of the figures and their relationships to one another. These can all

be seen in many of the works by Bellini and Raphael, specifically, "The

Small Cowper Madonna", and "Maddona Del Granduca" by Raphael and

"Greek Madonna" and "Madonna of the Meadow" by Bellini. The

subject of Maddona and Child is one that is highly emotional. Raphael and

Bellini portray the Virgin and Child in two very different emotional states.

Raphael, in his paintings, "The Small Cowper Madonna" and

"Madonna Del Granduca", illustrates a very intense feeling of love

between the Virgin and Child and a feeling of content with the love that the

mother and child share. In both The Small Cowper Madonna and Madonna Del

Granduca, the Virgin is looking at her son with an expression that seems very

tranquil. She is almost smiling yet at the same time praying, in The Small

Cowper Madonna. She seems to be totally engrossed with her child, (Web Museum).

At the same time, the Child seems totally comfortable with this mother. He looks

out at the viewer with a visionary, yet amiable gaze, showing his carefree,

comfortable state of mind, as any happy toddler would have (Web Museum). In both

"The Small Cowper Madonna" and "Madonna Del Granduca", the

Virgin holds her child very close to her body and the Child holds onto his

mother in return. The two figures seem totally at ease with one and other.

Bellini’s depiction, on the other hand, is a very different one from Raphael’s.

Bellini, in his "Madonna of the Meadows" and "Greek Madona",

shows a mother who does not seem to be very blithe. In "Madonna of the

Meadows", the Virgin seems to be praying. The expression on her face seems

to be one of discontent, perhaps even concern. Her eyes do not seem to be

focused on her child. The distance between the Virgin and Child is expressed

even more strongly in "Greek Madonna". The Virgin has a despondent

look on her face. She is looking in the direction of her child but almost seems

to be looking through him. In both paintings, the Virgin does not hold her child

close to her body as a mother would naturally do to her child, rather she is

just close enough to his body that she could support it. In "Madonna of the

Meadow", the Child’s body lays on his mother’s skirt, while the Virgin has

no contact with him at all; her hands do not support the Child and the Child

does not grab onto his mother. In "The Greek Madonna", though the

Virgin does hold her child, she does not cradle him in a loving way, rather, she

supports his body, though he does not touch her in any way. The relationship

between the Virgin and Child depicted by Bellini in the two paintings portrays a

peculiar and subtle tension that binds the Virgin and Child (Oliviari, page 4).

Aside from their different expressions of emotions in their works on Madonna and

Child , Bellini and Raphael also differ in their depiction of the Christ-child.

Raphael portrays a animated child. In Raphael’s "Small Cowper Madonna"

and in his "Madonna Del Granduca", the Christ-child is depicted as a

chubby baby with rosy cheeks and wide eyes, the way most healthy children

appear. In both paintings, the Child has turned his head, and has linked his

arms around his mother, giving an image of movement in the child. His gesture is

a very natural one; each body part looks comfortable and well supported. The

vision portrayed can be comprable to any portrait of a child of his age. The

depiction does not foreshadow any tragedy for the future. Bellini depicts the

Christ-child in a very different way than Raphael. In "Madonna of the

Meadow" and "Greek Madonna" the Child is portrayed in a most

lethargic manner. In "Madonna of the Meadow", the child lies in the

virgin’s lap, rigid and motionless. His right arm holds his heart in a way that

can be reminding of a heart attack victims grabbing onto his heart as he dies.

The Child’s eyes are closed and the expression on his face is blank. He has very

little colour in his cheeks, as he lacks the same colour over the rest of his

body. His head tilted to one side looks almost as though it is falling. In

"Greek Madonna", the Child looks as though he is falling and only the

arms of the Virgin support him. His facial expression is a troubled one. His

arms hang limp, though he does grasp an apple in his right hand, and his legs do

not seem to support him. His head, like in "Madonna of the Meadows" if

falling to one side, as if he cannot support it. His body is thin and elongated,

appearing longer than most children would. Perhaps the distinction which could

be made between Bellini’s works and Raphael’s works is the level of passiveness

which the Child is portraying. Bellini’s paintings of the Child foretell the

tragic future for which the Christ-child will live to experience.


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