The Madonna and Child (The Mackintosh Madonna)

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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The infant Christ throws his arms affectionately around his mother’s neck and smiles at us. But the Virgin Mary’s eyes are downcast, as though her thoughts are already on his future sacrifice. The painting probably dates from the early years of Raphael’s time in Rome. It is called the ‘Mackintosh Madonna’ after the person who donated it to the National Gallery. It is also known as the ‘Madonna of the Tower’ because of the building just visible in the left background. The picture is so damaged that it gives little idea of how it looked originally. The full-size template drawing, or cartoon, for it (British Museum, London) reveals soft atmospheric lighting and a psychological depth that has been lost in the painting, suggesting why this was one of Raphael’s compositions that appealed most powerfully to later artists.

The National Gallery, London



The Madonna and Child (The Mackintosh Madonna)


about 1509-11


Oil (almost entirely repainted) on canvas, transferred from wood


H 78.8 x W 64.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by Mrs Eva Mackintosh, 1906

Work type



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