Mary and Child
Formerly attributed to Raphael
Carbonpencil on brownish paper. 530 x 405 mm
Inventory number: D461
Madonna and Child is a drawing that attracts attention by virtue of its sensitive portrayal of the relationship between a mother and her child. Its poor state of preservation cannot hide the fact that this is a drawing of high artistic quality. And then it is of interest because with it Thorvaldsen believed he had been fortunate enough to acquire a work by one of the greatest of all High Renaissance Italian artists, Raphael (1483-1520). The drawing hung over Thorvaldsen’s bed in Casa Buti in Rome. It may have been his most prized possession. Just imagine if he was right in his attribution! Just imagine the museum really possessing a genuine Raphael! It would be a splendid thing of course. But there is reason to be cautious with attributions of this kind: There is no end to the list of artists who over the years have attempted to emulate divine Raphael.