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The Sistine Madonna
Jakob Schlesinger (after Raphael)
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Jakob Schlesinger (1792–1855) made this tracing in 1822 of the Sistine Madonna by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael (1483–1520). Drawn in pencil, it is formed of 24 pieces of paper pasted together and mounted on a canvas the same size as the painting. Schlesinger was a painter and picture restorer who was active in Dresden from 1820 to 1823, before moving to Berlin.

The Sistine Madonna was commissioned in 1512 as an altarpiece for San Sisto in Piacenza. Flanked by Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara, the Virgin Mary stands on clouds as she holds the infant Christ. At the bottom of the picture, two winged cherubs rest their heads upon their arms. One of the last Madonnas that Raphael painted – he died aged only 37 – it was described by the historian Vasari as ‘a truly rare and extraordinary work’. Now in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, it had a significant influence on German art.

Key facts
Artist Jakob Schlesinger (after Raphael)
Artist dates 1792 - 1855
Full title The Sistine Madonna
Date made probably 1822
Medium and support Pencil on paper mounted on canvas
Dimensions 257.8 x 203.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Messrs P. & D. Colnaghi, Scott & Co, 1860
Inventory number NG661
Location in Gallery Not on display
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