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Holy Family with Saint John or Madonna of the Rose
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Urbino, 1483 - Roma, 1520

Miniatura autor

Holy Family with Saint John or Madonna of the Rose

Ca. 1517. Oil on canvas, 103 x 84 cm.

The first verified Spanish documentation of Holy Family with Saint John or Madonna of the Rose, c.1517, dates from 1657. In 1642 Wenceslaus Hollar engraved this composition after a painting belonging to Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, one of the present work’s probable owners. However, there were copies of the work in Spain in the sixteenth century, including no less than six listed in the 1589 testament of Beneditto Rabuyate, a Florentine painter active in Valladolid. Other copies include one from the collection of the Count of Monterrey (Museo de Valladolid) and a version by Gabriel de Cárdenas (Museo del Prado). Moreover, in 1633 Vicente Carducho mentioned a poorly conserved painting by Raphael in his workshop, which may have been this one.

Originally painted on panel, the composition may have been transferred to canvas during the first half of the nineteenth century, when its dimensions would have been modified (from 96.8 x 81.0cm) and a lower section added, bearing the rose that gives the work its popular name. The absence of the original support and the degree of surface abrasion make it difficult to date, but it may have been painted around 1517. The circumstances surrounding the work’s commissioning are unknown, although there is no doubt about its attribution to Raphael.

Nevertheless, the traditional interpretation of that artist’s Roman works -as puzzles in which different members of his workshop painted one part or another- has led some specialists to consider the participation of the bottega in the rendering of anecdotal parts of the figures.

Recent studies of Raphael’s later works have shown that the methods of collaboration were very sophisticated, always supervised by the master and limited to large-format works. The intimate character of the present image, accentuated by the melancholic attitudes of Saint Joseph and Mary, its delicate lighting and the presence of a curtain in the background suggest that it was an altar panel for a private chapel.

In this work Raphael partially returns to his compositions from the beginning of the second decade of the sixteenth century, which were still very Florentine, but his treatment of colour and light resemble the Madonna of the Pearl, 1518 (Museo del Prado), and recall the influence of Leonardo and Fra Bartolomeo evident in his final works. The formal simplicity of the bodies and their secure placement in space indicate that the work was painted rapidly on the basis of learned models. Its rendering is very careful, despite the limited colour scheme: the blues overlap a pink layer, the flesh tones are rendered with very thin coats of paint, and the shadows and hair approach the levels of transparency attained in Madonna of the Pearl. There are two later versions: the Novar Munro Madonna, 1550-60, by Giulio Romano, and a panel attributed to Daniele da Volterra at the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome (González Mozo, A.: Italian Masterpieces. From Spain´s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, 2014, p. 44).


Technical data

Inventory number
Holy Family with Saint John or Madonna of the Rose
Ca. 1517
High/Height: 103 cm.; Width: 84 cm.
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Carducho, V., Diálogos de la pintura, Madrid Francisco Martínez, 1633, pp. 148.

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España. Vol. I, Madrid Joachin Ibarra, 1773, pp. 138.

Passavant, J. D., Le Peintre-Graveur. . . Catalogue Supplementaire Aux Estampes du XV et XVI Siecle, Leipzig Rudolph Weigel, 1860, pp. 333-334.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo descriptivo e histórico del Museo del Prado de Madrid, Madrid [s.n.], 1872, pp. 193.

Crowe, J. A.; Cavalcaselle, G. B., Raphael: His Life and Works, London John Murray, 1882-1885, pp. 478-479.

Lefort, P., Le Musée du Prado, 1893, pp. 209.

Rosemberg, Adolf, Raffael. Des Meisters Gemalde, Stuttgart-Berlin Deutche Verlags Anstalt, 1908, pp. 162.

Dayot, Armand, Le Prado de Madrid. Vol. I, Paris Editions Pierre Lafitte, 1914, pp. 213.

Venturi, Adolfo, Raffaello, Roma Calzone Editore, 1920, pp. 205.

Les chefs-d'oeuvre du Musée du Prado: exposition, Musée d'art, Genéve Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, 1939.

Gaya Nuño, J. A., Vida de los museos de España, 1953, pp. 290.

Prisco, M.; De Vecchi, P., La obra pictórica completa de Rafael, Barcelona Noguer, 1968.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Madrid Museo del Prado, 1972.

Brigstocke, H., Italian and Spanish Paintings in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh The National Gallery of Scotland, 1978.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: pintura italiana anterior a 1600, Madrid Gredos, 1979, pp. 90.

Gould, C., Raphael versus Giulio Romano. The swing back : The Burlington Magazine Publicati, 1982, pp. 479-487.

Oberhuber, Konrad, Raffaello, Milano Arnoldo Mondadori, 1982, pp. 179.

El niño en el Museo del Prado, Madrid Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas, 1983, pp. 169.

Joannides, P., The early easel paintings of Giulio Romano : Sansoni Editore, 1985, pp. 17-46 [31-32].

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Madrid Museo del Prado, 1985, pp. 529.

Rafael en España, Madrid Dirección General de Bellas Artes y Archivos, 1985, pp. 124-126, 140.

Brown, Jonathan, Velázquez: pintor y cortesano, Madrid Alianza Editorial, 1986, pp. 212, il. 249.

Orihuela, M., El Prado disperso. Cuadros depositados en las provincias de La Coruña, Lugo, Orense y Pontevedra Museo del Prado, 1988, pp. 148.

Gombrich, E. H., Giulio Romano, Milano Electa, 1989, pp. 35-37, 71-72, 211.

Ferino Pagden, Sylvia, Raffaello. Catalogo Completo Dei Dipinti, Firenze Cantini, 1989, pp. 149, il. 95.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Madrid Museo del Prado, 1990, pp. n. 794.

Cordellier, Dominique, Raffaello e i Suoi. Disegni Di Raffaello e Della Sua Cerchia., Roma Edizioni Carte Segrete, 1992, pp. 523-524 nº 897.

Bartolomé, B., El conde de Castrillo y sus intereses artísticos Museo del Prado, 1994, pp. 15-28.

Bettagno, Alessandro, El Museo del Prado, Madrid Fonds MercatorFundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, 1996, pp. 238.

Ruiz Manero, José María., Pintura italiana del siglo XVI en España, Madrid Fundación Universitaria Española, 1996, pp. 26-35.

Oberhuber, Konrad, Raphael. The Paintings, Munich-London-New York Prestel Verlag, 1999, pp. 221, il. 198.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura italiana del Renacimiento: guía, Madrid Museo del Prado, 1999, pp. 50.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La almoneda del siglo: relaciones artísticas entre España y Gran Bretaña, 1604-1655, Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado, 2002, pp. 246.

Rafael Retrato de un joven. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid Fund. Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2005, pp. 144.

Meyer zur Capellen, J., Raphael a critical catalogue of his paintings.The roman religious paintings, ca. 1508-1520, Munster Arcos, 2005, pp. 178, n. 63.

Bouza, F., De Rafael a Ribera y de Nápoles a Madrid. Nuevos inventarios de la colección Medina de las Torres-Stigliano (1641-1656) Museo del Prado, 2009, pp. 44-71.

Henry, T. Joannides, P., Rafael 'Sagrada Familia con San Juanito' o 'Virgen de la Rosa' En:, 2012, pp. 192-196, n.47.

Henry, T. Joannides, P., Raphaël 'Sainte Famille avec le petit saint Jean Baptiste' 'La Madone à la rose' En: Hazan, 2012, pp. 192-196, n.47.

Moioli, Pietro Seccaroni, Claudio, Un cantone da Michelangelo e Raffaello : Edizioni de Luca, 2012, pp. 78-84.

Finaldi, Gabriele, 'Zurbarán, il 'Caravaggio spagnolo' e la pittura italiana' En:, Ferrara Fondazione Ferrara Arte - Centre dex Beaux Arts de Bruxelles, 2013, pp. 48-59 [58 fg.31].

Gonzalez, A., Raphael 'Holy Family with Saint John or Madonna of the Rose' En: National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 44.

Finaldi, G., 'Zurbarán 'le Caravagge espagnol' et la peinture italienne' En:, Bruselas Bozar Books - Fonds Mercator, 2014, pp. 42-53 [52 f.30].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 794.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 794.
Rafael de Urbino. / 794. Sacra Familia llamada de la Rosa. / El Niño tiene en las manos el liston con el agnus dei que le entrega San Juan. (E.) / Alto 3 pies, 8 pulg; ancho 3 pies.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 370.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 302.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 302.

Exhibitions +

Maestros italianos. Melbourne
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

El último Rafael
08.10.2012 - 14.01.2013

Late Raphael
12.06.2012 - 16.09.2012

Luca Giordano in the Casón del Buen Retiro
21.02.2008 - 01.06.2008

Contextos de la Colección Permanente: Rafael. Retrato de un joven
17.10.2005 - 15.01.2006

Location +

Room 049 (On Display)

Update date: 06-01-2016 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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