Madonna of Divine Love has a very interesting history in it. The controversy on whether this piece has been created by Raffaello himself or his student GianFrancesco Penni has fascinated many art aficionados and made it possible for enthusiasts to try and explore what the background of the creation of the art piece can tell.
Why is such history important?
The story behind the creation of every art piece tells so much not only about the artist but about the life that he lived and the society that he existed in.
Raffaello was always as popular as his contemporaries Michelangelo but was noted for a much different artistic style.
Although, this does not mean that his works were anything less of that of the other artists of his time. The only reason why he was not as popular as the others were, was because his work process was more profound- it followed much less of the trend that the other artists have set during the time.
Being an artist and an architect, Raffaello’s work was known for its accuracy and precise details. He was not an artist who held back on possibilities, but he has always had a plan, and everything that he created followed that plan.
Raffaello was known to create drafts, drawings, and carefully crafted sketches as a base plan for his paintings. Unlike his contemporaries who were more about expressionism, Raffaello believed that every detail in an art piece, even the smallest one, plays a great role in how the message he wants to convey is to be received by his audience.
With a personal fascination with the theme of mother and son- the classic Mary and Jesus art that created a compelling, even heartwarming message about mothers and their undying love for their children, Raffaello worked on several Madonna and Child paintings during his time.
Although young, Raffaello was very much engaged with individuals who wanted to explore their artistic skills. Unlike other artists during his time, Raffaello was one who believed that his legacy lay strongly on how he can mentor others who are following through his footsteps. Because of this thinking and attitude, he was one of the largest Ateliers who can hold large art workshops during his time, with participants reaching up to 50 individuals who want to learn more from him, his strategies, and his attitude towards art.
Raffaello was the kind of mentor who will not dictate to his students what they ought to do or how they ought to finish an art piece. He is a mentor who thrives in the uniqueness of every individual and believes that every artist has a unique gift to offer. Raffaello is a collaborator.
On the other hand, Gianfrancesco Penni and Giulio Romano sometimes worked on the same painting Raffaello was working with; Raffaello would work on the main character and they would finish the art piece.
Because Gianfrancesco Penni had done many Madonna and Child for Raffaello since he had such a great demand of them, he was assumed to have created the Madonna of Divine Love. Nevertheless, there are art enthusiasts like Carla Nicole De Petris who believe that settling controversies such as this one is critical to determining the integrity of the artist and the value of his work. With her book dedicated to exploring the truth behind this controversy, De Petris hopes to bring reality into a better light.