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The Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art "Not a painting, but a Vision!": Raphael's Sistine Madonna Turns Five Hundred

Andreas Henning, curator of Italian paintings, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Hardly any other Italian Renaissance work is as well-known as Raphael's Sistine Madonna. All the evidence suggests that Pope Julius II commissioned Raphael to paint this altarpiece in the summer of 1512. For more than 240 years, the painting hung almost completely unremarked in its original position in the San Sisto Church in Piacenza, Italy. In this 16th annual Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art recorded on November 11, 2012, at the National Gallery of Art, Andreas Henning reveals how the Sistine Madonna only gradually became known to a growing audience after it was acquired for Dresden's Royal Gallery in the mid-18th century. This lecture not only presents Raphael's masterpiece and outlines the conditions that led to its creation 500 years ago, but also considers the many different forms that its reception has taken in art, literature, craft work, and kitsch to popularize the work.