La Madonna di San Sisto

La Madonna di San Sisto
Hand-tinted photogravure
Printed by F. Hanfstaengl

Raphael’s painting commissioned by Pope Julius II for the San Sisto church in Piacenza, Italy, is one of the artist’s best-known works. It depicts Mary, the mother of Jesus, standing on clouds within a green-draped vignette. Saint Barbara sits with her attribute, a tower, over her right shoulder. Sixtus II, the Bishop of Rome, is portrayed standing in his brocade cloak with the triple-tiered papal tiara in the lower left corner. At the bottom edge is a pair of putti waiting impatiently for the conclusion of the spectacle.

The painting was readily available to the German lithographer Franz Hanfstaengl (1804–1877), who was responsible for this reproduction. The painting had been purchased in 1754 by Augustus III, King of Poland, and moved to Dresden. Franz Hanfstaengl’s studio also produced the lithographs of Durer’s Four Apostles on display at the left.

Lower Basement
La Madonna di San Sisto