A Hidden Treasure of Italy – The Sistine Madonna

May 6, 2022

By Joanne Natale Spigonardo

The Sistine Madonna

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would write about one of the greatest mothers of all, Mary. Mary symbolizes the unconditional love of motherhood, and the gifts that motherhood brings. The Sistine Madonna depicts the purity of devotion that Mary has for her Son. The painting was one of the great works of Raphael, and was commissioned by Pope Julius II for the church of San Sisto in Piacenza, Italy. The painting was completed in 1513 and the Rovere family of Piacenza was one of its benefactors. It is considered one of the most extraordinary masterpieces of Renaissance Italy. Its truly a hidden treasure of Italy, however it now resides in Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany.

The meaning of la Madonna di San Sisto is interpreted in many ways, however one interpretation is that Mary is at the center of reality on earth and as a Mother she will eventually lead her Son to Heaven. She is having a vision of the future. Her worried expression could be a foreshadowing of the crucifixion of Christ, and the pain, as well as the glory that her Son will experience. Like all Mother’s she holds her child close to her heart, and wants to protect Him from his destiny, and like all Mother’s she knows that children need to follow their chosen path.

One of the most famous images in the Sistine Madonna is the beautiful angels, that Raphael called his putti. Raphael is greatly known for his cherubs. He was inspired by the innocence of children and their general curiosity and wonder of the beauty around them. Some historic facts about his angels are that they were the village children that were watching Raphael paint and he was touched by their attention to his art.

Raphael’s Cherub in The Sistine Madonna

There are countless masterpieces of the Madonna in Italy and throughout the world. One can only assume that the love of Mary and of mothers is one of life’s greatest gifts. Hope that all the mothers in the universe, and those that are like mothers to us, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

About the Author

Joanne Natale Spigonardo

Joanne has many years of experience in travel to Italy, Italian art, literature, film, history, wine, and cuisine. She is a lover of nature and beauty.  She is an advocate for Italian immigrant women, and the author of White Widow, which is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/White-Widow-Joanne-Natale-Spigonardo/dp/B085DT65DB.  For more information about Joanne please visit her LinkedIn page:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanne-spigonardo-b4824a9/.

Published by spigonaj

Joanne Spigonardo Business Development Consultant Specializing in Sustainability, Higher Education, Career Management, and Public Relations In her former roles, Joanne served as Senior Associate Director at the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) at Wharton. Joanne was also part of the Communications Office. She held positions as business manager of the Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists and for the Wharton Alumni Magazine. Joanne also served as the media relations coordinator. When with Alitalia Airlines, Joanne worked as a sales representative. Joanne graduated from The University of Pennsylvania with a BA and later graduated from the Wharton Aresty Institute of Executive Education. She has a strong background in development, management, marketing, and Italian language and culture. As a Wharton Mentor, she coached new employees on professional development, and is active in Penn’s Grievance panels. Joanne was on the board of governors for the University Club. Joanne is chair of the Delaware County Penn Alumni Interview Program and oversees alumni volunteers. As an alum of Penn and Wharton, and also a parent of two Penn graduates, she is a strong advocate in promoting Penn. At Wharton IGEL, Joanne had been in partnership with GreenBiz, Sustainable Brands, the Ethical Corporation, Pira Packaging International, Public Relations Society of America, the Green Sports Alliance, World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, the Italian Consulate, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Sonoma County Winegrowers Association, and the Nature Conservancy, as well as, many other NGO and government offices. She has brokered hundreds of corporate relationships for Wharton. Joanne is the author of her book, White Widow, published on Kindle and Amazon. The book is a fictional novel about 19th-20th Century Italian immigrants. https://www.amazon.com/White-Widow-Joanne-Natale-Spigonardo/dp/B085DT65DB

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