c.1505, 84*55cm, Oil on wood
The way the 's face is modelled and recedes into the shade, the way Raphael makes us feel the volume of the body wrapped in the freely flowing mantle, the firm and tender way in which she holds and supports the Christ Child-all
this contributes to the effect of perfect poise. We feel that to
change the group ever so slightly would upset the whole harmony. Yet there is nothing strained or sophisticated in the
composition. It looks as if it could not be otherwise, and as
if it had so existed from the beginning of time.