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Study for the Kneeling Infant St John in 'The Alba Madonna' (Washington, National Gallery of Art)

Rafaël (in c. 1509-1510)

This is the smallest of three surviving studies for Raphael’s famous tondo painting The Alba Madonna in The National Gallery of Art in Washington. It is a detailed sketch for the infant John the Baptist, who kneels beside the seated Virgin and Child. John takes flowers from the folds of his camel-hair garment and offers them to Christ. In his other hand he holds a wooden cross, suggested in the drawing by a few simple lines. Raphael focused his attention on the figure of John; all that can be seen of the Virgin is the outline of her knee. In the painting she rests her right hand on John’s shoulder, while the naked Christ extends his right arm to receive the cross, signifying acceptance of his destiny, the Passion. We know of several metalpoint drawings by Raphael. They were executed on paper prepared with saturated bone meal, as required for this technique. The numbers ‘19’ and ‘75’ inscribed at upper centre and upper right suggest that the sheet shown here may have come from a sketchbook, now lost. A further eight loose sheets from the same 'carnet rose' are in other collections. [text: Albert Elen 2011]


Specifications

Title Study for the Kneeling Infant St John in 'The Alba Madonna' (Washington, National Gallery of Art)
Material and technique Metalpoint on white prepared paper
Object type Drawing
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions (drawing) Height : 115 mm
Width : 104 mm
Makers Draughtsman: Rafaël
Accession number I 110 (PK)
Credits Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1940 (voormalige collectie / former collection Koenigs)
Department Drawings & Prints
Acquisition date 1940
Age maker Between 25 and 26 years old
Collector Collector / Franz Koenigs
Exhibitions Rondom Raphaël (1997)
Tekeningen uit eigen bezit, 1400-1800 (1952)
De Collectie Twee - wissel IV, Prenten & Tekeningen (2009)
Rondom Fra Bartolommeo (2016)
Italiaanse tekeningen in Nederlands bezit (1962)
External exhibitions Rafaël en zijn school (2012)
Material Paper > Vegetable material > Organic material > Material > Material and technique
Metalpoint > Artist's material > Material > Material and technique
Object Drawing > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Technique Prepared > Prepare > Shaping techniques > General technique > Technique > Material and technique
Prepared > Prepare > Shaping techniques > General technique > Technique > Material and technique
Geographical origin Italy > Southern Europe > Europe
Place of manufacture Rome > Italy > Southern Europe > Europe

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All about the maker

Rafaël

Urbino 1484 - Rome 1520