Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael
Raphael was born in Urbino in 1483. His young life was happy and he was loved by everyone: by the mighty as well as the pope and women. His beauty and elegance were famous, as beautiful and elegant was his art.
Unfortunately, he died when he was only thirty-seven years old, but he went down to history as the “Divine”.
The young painter approached the Florentine circles thanks to his apprenticeship with master Perugino who managed a successful workshop in the Tuscan capital. But it was thanks to the family of the Dukes of Urbino, who wrote to the Republic of Florence to invite the artist to stay in Florence, that young Raphael based himself in the cradle of the Renaissance.
In Florence, Raphael absorbed the achievements of Florentine art that was at the time on the cutting edge in Europe. He was strongly influenced by the figure of Leonardo.
The influence of the great artist-scientist, is evident in the beautiful Madonna of the Goldfinch (“Madonna del Cardellino”) (1506), recently restored (2008) in a wise and skillful way. Raphael accepts the approach of the pyramidal composition, the gentle effects of the soft light and the emotional dialog between the characters, revealing the elements peculiar to the painting of Leonardo. Despite that is also plain what will be Raphael’s own personal style: the extreme sweetness of the faces, particularly the Madonnas’, the masterful use of colors, the realistic reproduction of the landscape and the profound intimacy between the figures.
During his stay in Florence, the great artist from Urbino painted other famous works, but it is the Madonna with the Goldfinch to represent, more than any other work, the painter’s distinctive aesthetics.
The painting was severely damaged at the end of the XVI century because of the collapse of the building where it was housed. It suffered serious damage, such as the deep and long gashes that had defaced the wooden panel.
Many restorations followed one another over the centuries but it was only thanks to the last one (accomplished in 2008) that the work returned to its original splendor.
The Madonna of the Goldfinch can therefore be loved and admired again as one of the loveliest examples of the great painter of Raphael the “Divine”.
You can see the Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael in the new red halls of the Uffizi, Hall #66 dedicated to Raphael.