Thinking about the charm of Raphael's "Madonna in a Small Chair" - I think about the masterpiece in Palazzo Pitti, Florence.

Our Lady of the Small Chair The Italian Renaissance and the Revolution of Knowledge

Raphael's "Madonna in a Small Chair" at the Pitti Palace, a favorite of Dostoevsky.

In December 2022 I visited Florence.

I came here becauseTakahiro Ueda, "Dostoevsky and His Wife on a Fateful Journey: A Journey of Madness and Love in Western Europe" - A journey that retraces a once-in-a-lifetime journey with his wife that changed the destiny of a great writer.As I mentioned in my article on the "Dostoevsky's trip", the purpose of the trip was to visit the places associated with Dostoevsky.

Raphael's "Madonna in a Little Chair," which I will introduce in this article, is a masterpiece that Dostoevsky also loved. I also came to Palazzo Pitti to see this masterpiece.

Raphael, The Virgin in a Small ChairWikipedia.

Palazzo Pitti is across the Arno River from the Duomo.

This is indeed the pride of Florence. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the interior of the palace and admire the sculptures and paintings that line the walls. Compared to the Uffizi Gallery, the Uffizi Gallery is much more spacious, and you can enjoy the museum in a relaxing atmosphere.

Now, we have come to the room with Raphael's "Madonna of the Little Chair".

When I saw the picture hanging on the wall of the room, I did a double-take. What? It was so easily displayed! I thought.

It is too careless, too unprotected. This was a surprise to me ...

This is "The Virgin of the Little Chair," which Dostoevsky also loved.

However, I did not have a strong impression of this picture at first. I just thought, "Oh, I see, this is the painting....

But a little later, as I kept looking at it with the idea in my mind that Dostoevsky had fallen in love with this painting, I was gradually drawn into it. In fact, I was already captivated. I couldn't take my eyes off it. Before I knew it, more than 10 minutes had passed. Then, as usual, I walked around the museum and reset myself before standing in front of this painting once again.

Then I realized many things.

First, this Virgin. The Mother's gesture of compassion is strong.

Just across from this painting on display is also Raphael's Madonna and Child. It is easier to understand if you compare it with this one.

Mary across the way is just holding Jesus. Moreover, she looks down and is in a meditative mood. The infant Jesus also looks somewhat enlightened.

But here Mary is clearly caring for and protecting the infant Jesus. And Jesus, with an anxious look on his face, surrenders himself to Mary. This is a surprisingly rare composition. There are probably few paintings in which the love of the mother Mary can be felt so straightforwardly. At least, I have no memory of such a painting. Dostoevsky, who lost his mother early in life, may have projected the image of his tender mother here.

And this painting has a wonderful frame. The circular picture and the square gold frame are well balanced. The black background has a very significant effect. If you stare at this painting for a while, you will feel as if Mary is really there. The black color gives a sense of infinite depth. And then, Mary emerges from the blackness. The round contours of the painting make us feel as if there really is a space there. Especially, the black space under the chin of Jesus plays the role of the center point. There is infinity behind this. It even feels as if Mary is moving, as if she is jumping out from the infinite darkness toward us. It is as different to actually see the original in front of you as it is to see it in an image.

Ahhh... what a wonderful painting. I am now completely captivated by Maria.

I was shot through with Botticelli's Maria, but I can't resist this Maria either. What a cheater I am!

I was truly entranced by this gentle figure of Mary. I can see why Dostoevsky fell in love with this painting. It is totally different from Botticelli's strong face. This Maria's gentleness is beyond degree.

I was completely taken aback by this Maria.

For nearly an hour I was stunned in front of this painting. I walked away to go home, but ended up going back for "just one more time". It was the same with Botticelli. Oh, I want to see him again. I want to go to Florence...I think about it from the bottom of my heart even now as I write this article.

Click here to read the previous article.

Related Articles