The Sistine Madonna, also called the Madonna di San Sisto, is an oil painting by the Italian artist Raphael Sanzio. It is now a masterpiece of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister.
Original Painting by Raphael Sanzio
A green curtain spread out reveals an amazing epiphany, between the saints Sisto Pope and Barbara. Madonna, in full figure, appears descending from a bed of clouds, composed of a myriad of heads of cherubim, with the Child in her arms, while looking directly at the spectator. Even the two saints accentuate, with their gestures, the theatrical moment pointing and looking outwards, as if an invisible crowd of faithful were present. The direct and theatrical relationship between divinity and the devotees has no precedent. It is not a question of a vision of the divine by the devotees, but of the divine that appears and goes towards the devotees. The Child is as offered to devotion, also foreshadowing his sacrifice for the salvation of humanity.
This modern interpretation is underlined by the simple, unearthly dress of Mary, who moves barefoot, but surrounded by light. The humanization of divinity is redeemed by the supernatural beauty of rare perfection and by the flattering feelings surrounding its appearance.
The dominant colors are matched to a cold palette, enlivened here and there by areas of yellow and red.
An artwork rich in details, colors, from the Pope's garment, to the faces of the angels emerging in the clouds, from the distracted expression of the cherubs at the base, to the deep expression of Mary in the foreground. Nothing in mosaic reproduction is left to chance, every little detail is faithfully reproduced.
Venetian enamels and gold leaf mosaic.