Marriage of the Virgin OR Sposalizio della Vergine by Raffaello

Marriage of the Virgin / Sposalizio della Vergine
by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino 1483 – 1520



Known only as Raphael, he was an Italian painter and architect of the Renaissance. The grace and beauty of his paintings and drawings are unparalleled. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael forms the triumvirate of the great masters of the Renaissance.

Raphael was very productive. He had a large workshop, and despite his early death at 37, a large body of his work was left behind. Many of his works are found in the Apostolic Palace of The Vatican, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his life.

After some years in Rome much of Raphael’s work was self-designed. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the best examples of the Renaissance.

This Raphael masterpiece, dated in1504, depicts the mar¬riage of Mary and Joseph and is one of the Brera gallery’s major works. The museum houses one of the most fam¬ous col¬lec¬tions of paint¬ings in Italy, specializing in paint¬ings by artists from the north¬ern regions of Ven¬eto and Lom¬bardy.

The Marriage of the Virgin, also known as ‘Lo Sposalizio’, is an oil painting. Completed in 1504 by Raphael for a Franciscan church in Città di Castello, the painting shows the marriage of the Holy Family. The painting changed hands several times before remaining in 1806 at the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. The Marriage of the Virgin was the last of Raphael’s commissioned work for the Pope. Inspired by one of Perugino's paintings, Marriage of the Virgin, Raphael completed this work in 1504.

The Marriage of the Virgin has been saved from a major water leak inside the Brera Pin¬acoteca gallery in Milan. A worker luckily iden¬ti¬fied a leak in the roof and said that the resulting humidity threatened many masterpieces, including this masterpiece by Raphael.

The painting has a charm of simplicity and grace. It is the the idealistic presentation of a younger innocent world. One of the great qualities of Raphael’s mastership is the notion of a place set apart, a space within a space. The lines that make the painting, and the gradations that fill it, are complete and do not suggest any extension of life outside of borders of the scene. It is as if we are seeing it from the outside in. Where the portrait ends, wherever the figures are cut, it is enough. We do not need to see more than this intimate view of the Holy family. It is as if we are there.

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