The blue, worn by the virgin Mary, symbolises the church and the red Christ’s death. With her eyes fixed on Christ, she holds up Christ, as he leans forward unsteadily to touch the miniature cross held by John. The poppy refers to Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
This piece is painted by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (April 6 or March 28, 1483 – April 6, 1520, better known simply as Raphael, who was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings and drawings. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.
The Madonna with the Christ Child and Saint John the Baptist is now held in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. It is also known as Madonna del prato (Madonna of the Meadow) or Madonna del Belvedere (after its long residence in the imperial collection in the Vienna Belvedere).