THE CHRISTMAS CANVAS: ‘The Sistine Madonna’ by Raphael da Urbino (1513)

 O Maiden will you be, the Mother of the Saviour

Your God has chosen you, to give the world His Son

His power will be your shield, His Spirit come upon you

And Mary bowed and said, ‘God’s will be done’

From the Annunciation to the Presentation, to the Passion, Death and Resurrection, it was Mary’s unconditional yes that bore and revealed to us the unconditional love of God. The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church honours her divine maternity through the feast of the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is celebrated on the Octave of Christmas on January the 1st. It is therefore befitting today to dwell on a painting depicting the Mother of God (Greek ‘Theotokos’ meaning ‘God bearer’).

Who best can bring to us the soul of this subject than the art of Raphael? Even an amateur art lover can conjure the serene, impeccable, imperturbable, graceful, gentle, noble image of Raphael’s Madonnas. Through this concluding Christmas Canvas let’s contemplate on the last Madonna that Raphael painted titled ‘The Sistine Madonna’.

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