“Darmstadt Madonna”, Hans Golbein – overview of the painting

“Darmstadt Madonna”, Hans Golbein – overview of the painting
"Darmstadt Madonna", Hans Golbein - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Hans Golbein the Younger
  • Museum: Johanniter Halle Exhibition Hall, Shwebish-Hall
  • Year: 1528

Overview of the painting :

Darmstadt Madonna – Hans Golbein. 1528. Oil. 1102 x 146 cm

   This image is rightfully considered a true masterpiece of the Renaissance and is placed on a par with the works of Raphael. More contemporary artists saw in her the undoubted resemblance to the Madonna of this great Italian, and in its spirit and style the picture is undoubtedly southern – more colorful and sophisticated than the strict and slightly constrained images characteristic of northern countries.

   A picture is written in the last year of the artist’s stay in Basel, before his departure to England. This is a custom image with an interesting plot that will seem somewhat unusual to a modern viewer. It presents not just a classic plot on a biblical theme, where Madonna and the baby and the donor are captured, that is, the customer who ordered and paid for the artist the work of creating the canvas. Often, members of his family were also portrayed with the donor. This is the unusual picture. It captures the burgomaster Meyer himself, his daughter, the living and deceased spouses, as well as two more people who have not yet been identified.

   The painting is a complex multi-figure composition with a large number of details, which is characteristic of the works of this artist. In the background, the canvas depicts spectacular architectural details in the form of “grass” and embossed elements supporting it. Behind the backs of the characters is a greenish-biryuz background with interwoven branches.

   The central figure of the picture is Madonna with baby Jesus in her arms. She has loose long, reddish hair, a luxurious golden crown with precious stones crowns her head. She is dressed in a dark blue-green dress with a long and narrow almeck belt, with golden satin sleeves of lower clothes. A silk olive cloak is thrown on his shoulders. Madonna has a tender and sad face, she looks at the child Christ who has clung to her.

   The figures of the donor and his two wives are dressed in strict dark clothes, on both women deaf snow-white dressings that completely hide their hair and part of the face. Only the daughter of the burgomaster is dressed in white with gold clothes. A vivid contrast to these dark colors is the mother-of-pink body of an unknown child and the golden-chagged outfit of the young man holding him. By analogy with the presence of the deceased spouse of the customer on the canvas, it can be assumed that a sad young man and a little boy can be deceased members of the donor family.

   The artist’s impeccable skill in the smallest details reflected not only all the elements of complex and magnificent outfits and jewelry, but also the expressions of the persons portraised. They are recognizable, faces are very lively, expressive. Of course, this picture is one of the masterpieces of world painting.