The subject matter of Madonna and Child was a very popular one for artists of the sixteenth century. Raphael painted numerous versions of the Madonna and Child. He portrayed what seems to be a loving, warm relationship between mother and child, a lifelike Christ child, and serenity within his paintings. The differences between the views of the artist on the portrayal of Madonna and Child can clearly be seen through the artist’s use of color, backgrounds in which the figures are placed, the poses of the figures and their relationships to one another.
The subject of Madonna and Child is one that is highly emotional. Raphael, in his paintings, The Small Cowper Madonna illustrates a very intense feeling of love between the Virgin and Child and a feeling of content with the love that the mother and child share. The Small Cowper Madonna the Virgin is looking at her son with an expression that seems very tranquil. She is almost smiling yet at the same time praying. At the same time, the Child seems totally comfortable with this mother. He looks out at the viewer with a visionary, yet amiable gaze, showing his carefree, comfortable state of mind, as any happy toddler would have.
The Small Cowper Madonna the Virgin holds her child very close to her body and the Child holds onto his mother in return. The two figures seem totally at ease with one and other. Raphael”s Small Cowper Madonna” the Christ-child is depicted as a chubby baby with rosy cheeks and wide eyes, the way most healthy children appear. The Child has turned his head, and has linked his arms around his mother, giving an image of movement in the child. His gesture is a very natural one; each body part looks comfortable and well supported. The vision portrayed can be comparable to any portrait of a child of his age. The distinction that could be made about Raphael’s works is the level of passiveness that the Child is portraying.