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Vatican Museums

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Coronation of the Virgin

Rafael Sanzio 1502-1504.

This painting was commissioned by Rafael for Maddalena degli Oddi for the church of San Francisco in Perugia. The painter made one of his classic symmetrical compositions, divided into two levels that separate the earth from the sky.

The theme is the assumption of the Virgin in body and soul to heaven, with the crown of Jesus Christ among a chorus of angels, musicians and singers. On the earth is the stone sepulcher, full of flowers, and the apostles and disciples amazed, contemplating the miracle as privileged beings.

This is a work full of harmony and beauty. The sepulcher is copied from the Roman sarcophagi found in the excavations and the landscape is an image of the Italian countryside, serene and softly illuminated with a light that homogenizes and makes the whole scene understandable. In the predella of the altarpiece, we can contemplate three stories of the Virgin: the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi and the Presentation in the Temple.

Vatican Museums