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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ remains among the most beloved art pieces in the Church. As early as the 6th century AD, art pieces were completed to depict the Virgin Mary supporting or cradling baby Jesus on her lap.

As a result, most people recognise the Virgin of the Rose by Raphael as Madonna of the Rose. Despite other roles he had, Raphael completed the oil painting in c. 1518 and it is believed to be one of the many Madonnas created by the artist. Madonna is an Italian term that represents an image of Mary the Virgin with Child or alone.

The image is a central icon for Orthodox and Catholic churches, a reason many people recognise it. At the moment, its location is in Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain and people are allowed to view it. Raphael managed to put all of the details in the painting into oil and canvas. Religion played a significant inspiration in the painting, but he maintained the oil technique adapted from the Venetian painters. Also, Raphael had increasingly come in contact with fresco painting. So, he was experimenting with a technique that he knew very well and the result in Virgin of the Rose was excellent work.

The style Raphael employed in this religious painting is High Renaissance. High Renaissance originates from Renaissance Italy, and it culminated the activities of quattrocento. The characteristics of this painting style are the balance and harmony that are present in the Virgin of the Rose. Like other Renaissance painting, the Virgin of the Rose places focuses on Mary the Virgin, and the rose on the table. This picture fits well into the definition of High Renaissance painting that is self-contained and balanced to bring out beauty. Like a typical Madonna painting, the Virgin of the Rose by Raphael depicts Mary the Virgin carrying Jesus Christ. Saint Joseph is also part of this picture with another child who is interpreted to be John the Baptist. The trademark in this picture is the rose on the table from which the name of the painting originates.

The completion of the Virgin of the Rose by Raphael is uncertain although the involvement of another artist known as Giulio Romano cannot be written off. Also, another unknown artist is believed to have added the lower portion, and the rose in the painting. Undoubtedly, the Virgin of the Rose by Raphael has a version not attributed to any artist in particular. Luke Brugnara, a real estate magnate, owns a second autograph version of the Virgin of the Rose painting which lacks a lower strip and rose. Works of art of this nature are primarily Italian in origin, but there is Spanish, Dutch, German and Netherlandish versions of the painting. All the same, Raphael's work is notable among all the versions of the Madonnas and the child.