Madonna and Child with Book

Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (Italian, 1483-1520)
c. 1502-03
Oil on panel 
21-3/4 x 15-3/4 in. (55.2 x 40 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View

In this painting, the balanced, serene figures are described simply and naturally. A lucid geometry organizes the composition, from the pyramidal grouping of the Madonna and Child to the geometric idealization of their faces and bodies. The deep, blue arch of the Madonna's silhouette encloses the figure of the Child and frames the book, which is further emphasized by the touching hands that hold it. The inscription in the book introduces the ninth hour, or Nones of the Canonical Offices, recited daily by all monastic communities. The Nones commemorates Christ's Crucifixion and Death. With eyes turned to heaven, the Christ Child contemplates His own sacrifice as man's Redeemer. Raphael has depicted more than just a beautiful image of the Madonna and Child -- he has created a meditation piece. The profoundly spiritual quality achieved by Raphael explains why his Madonnas were in such high demand.


Thomas Townend (Christie’s, London, 14 July 1883, lot 75, as Francia, bought-in);
Colonel John Bullen-Symes Bullen (b. 1847) and Mrs. Blanch Mary Bullen (d. 1886, née Townend, younger daughter of William Hall, Syndale, Kent), Catherston-Leweston, and Marshwood Manor, Dorsetshire, by descent to;
Elizabeth Townend (Mrs. Charles) Wheler, Syndale, Kent (d. 1912), by descent to;
John Hall, Syndale, Kent, by descent to;
Heirs of John Hall, Syndale Kent, to;
[Marshall Spink, London];
[Wildenstein & Co., London, via Spink, by June, 1952, sold 1972 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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