Raphael has created nearly 300 paintings in his short life which only lasts 37 years. Among them, the Madonna paintings occupy the absolute superiority, so people get accustomed to associate Raphael with the charming and soft Madonna images. From the personal characters, Raphael’s Madonna varies with the times. The Grand Duke S Madonna was made between 1504 and 1505 when the painter came to Florence. He felt a boundless respect of predecessors, especially admiration for Da Vinci.
This piece of Madonna painting has the historical characteristics in this period. Madonna appears to be quiet, solemn and more saintly, although she is not to be deified. The artist also focuses on the performance of human beauty of maternity. But this kind of love is made with timid psychological features of the world. To some extent, it reveals the heart of Raphael’s religious emotion. Of course, the canopy and the throne are not added in this painting, which is similar to what previous artists do. But it is depicted with less secular color, which is quite different from his other works portraying Madonna in the nature. Raphael aggravates the background of the painting, and focuses on the Madonna’s facial portrait: the combination of the downcast and tender eyes, moist skin of Madonna and the child and the unsmiling solemnity on the Madonna’s face make the whole painting filled with chants of poetry. It is painted in this way maybe in order to meet the expected Madonna’s love for the whole world and in exchange for the wishes of faithful prayers. Reportedly, at that time a duchess was worried because she had no children. Later she prayed in front of this painting. Not long ago, she really gave birth to a beautiful boy. This picture was originally owned by Grand Duke of Scany Ferdinand III. This is where its name is from.