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“Madonna Granduka” is one of the most famous paintings by Italian artist Rafael Santi. The plot of the picture is quite traditional - the image of the Virgin Mary with a baby in her arms.
A number of art historians suggest that the painting was created by Raphael in 1504-1505, shortly after he moved to Florence. Here he met with the canvases of another Italian artist, Leonardo da Vinci.
In the picture, the obvious influence of Leonardo’s creativity is traced. This is the use of the sphumato technique developed by him - softening the figures, which allows to convey a sense of air. This is the background on which, as shown by radiographic research, a window was shown leading to the garden. The background was later removed. Now in its place is a solid black color.
The reasons why the old background was painted over are unknown. It is not even known whether Rafael himself did this, or any of the subsequent owners, restorers. One of the possible reasons is some twilight, which is also known for the paintings of Leonardo. Subsequently, Rafael abandoned attempts to recreate the twilight and almost completely switched to landscape background and sunlight.
Maria stands, turning to face the viewer, turning slightly to the right. The colors of her clothes are symbolic. The red dress symbolizes the blood spilled on the cross. A bluish cloak is a sign of integrity.
It is not known what Raphael himself called the picture. Its current name is “Madonna Granduka”, “Grand Ducal Madonna”, the painting received several centuries later, at the end of the 18th century, when the Tuscan duke Ferdinand 3 bought it from the descendants of the famous Florentine artist Carlo Dolchi. Interestingly, for some time the painting was considered miraculous and hung in the duke's bedroom. She later began exhibiting at the Pitti Public Gallery.