The Small Cowper Madonna is a painting created in 1505 by one of the most influential Italian Renaissance painters, Raphael. It measures 59.5cm by 44cm and currently hangs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., United States. This painting is also known as Madonna di Foligno, as it depicts the Madonna sitting between two angels with John The Baptist and infant Jesus in her arms.
The painting masterfully incorporates Raphael’s characteristic graceful movements of figures and vivid colors to create a lyrical composition. Furthermore, the configuration of figures in this work foreshadows themes that will be developed deeper in other works by Raphael like La Bella Principessa of 1506 or The School Of Athens, which was painted between 1510-11.
With its blend atmosphere, emotion and classical formation, The Small Cowper Madonna marks Raphael’s early maturity as an artist and his beginnings of his exploration towards formal harmony and beauty. These aspects represent the central pillar of the Renaissance visual culture that would be further developed and perfected in works done afterwards such as The School Of Athens (1510-11), where his interpretation of grandeur reaches its climax.