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Current time:0:00Total duration:2:56

Video transcript

we're in the Louvre and we're looking at a painting by Raphael called LaBelle jardinière and it's a lovely Raphael madonna and child with the infant Saint John the Baptist in that pyramid composition that we so often associate with the high Renaissance what's interesting is that the Virgin Mary is not in a religious environment we see no archways and she's got no throne if we argue that she had a throne at all it would be the throne of nature she sits on a rock in a field with beautiful atmospheric perspective behind her creating this lovelace verdant environment as we look down at the foreground we see in clowns perhaps the edge of a pond and little flowers the loveliest passages to me are the way that Christ on the left stands on his mother's foot really showing that kind of dependence on his mother and yet also a growing sense of independence as he seeks to take the book out of her hands and looks up at her and of course the content of that book foretells his own demise it foretells the crucifixion and the look on Mary's face is one suggest that she knows this she's looking at him to in a sense gauge whether or not he's ready for that knowledge she puts her right arm around him protecting him and seems to hesitate for a moment with her left hand whether to allow him to take that book or not st. John the Baptist who kneels in prayer toward Christ isn't a very graceful pose as he kneels down on his right knee tilts his neck up and looks up at Christ we have that high Renaissance gracefulness and ideal beauty let's look for just a moment at the gazes within the painting I think you're right to start with John the Baptist and his eyes gazing up at Christ who in turns body and face moves up to Mary and Mary then returns that gaze in a sense sends our gaze back down to Christ so everyone's gaze is really focused on price and sort of we're in the middle of that triangle as we watch them look at each other and Mary's ideally beautiful and we have only the faintest outline of a halo that halo is disappearing as we enter the high Renaissance because the figures exude a kind of divinity by their ideal beauty we don't need that symbol of a halo anymore and for Raphael its nature that takes on that role no longer those stage props of divinity necessary as you said but it's the landscape itself it's God's world that he's created that is an expression of divinity and it's beauty itself that is the expression of divinity here Mary's beauty Christ beauty and even John's beauty