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2 Aug 2019

The mystery of the Madonna

A painting of the Madonna in a gold frame hangs on a wall covered with blue paper. In the background is a dining room with many other portraits on the wall.
Haddo Madonna
We’ve been carrying out more investigations into the attribution of the Haddo Madonna and are getting ready to share our latest findings.

Jennifer Melville, the Trust’s Head of Curatorial & Conservation Services, will reveal the results of intensive efforts to throw a ray of light on the painting ‘The Haddo Madonna’ and discover if it’s a true blue masterpiece by Italian Renaissance artist Raphael or simply the work of a beautiful stranger.

She’ll reveal the latest findings at a special talk at Haddo House on Wednesday 14 August.

A painting of the Madonna in a gold frame hangs on a wall covered with blue paper. In the background is a dining room with many other portraits on the wall.
The Haddo Madonna

The claim that the painting was a forgotten work by Raffaeollo Sanzio da Urbino (1483–1520) was made by Bendor Grosvenor in the BBC’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces TV programme in 2016 and received worldwide media coverage, causing a commotion as a result. Better known as Raphael, the artist is regarded as one of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Renaissance masters, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

Since then, detailed examination and research to find out if the painting is really like a virgin has been undertaken with the help of the National Gallery in London.

The painting was given a holiday from the intense interest of visitors to Haddo, when special arrangements were made by conservators to transport it south and return it again. While in London, experts got into the groove of the paints used and the backing material of the girl during their investigations.

The composition of the painting itself was also examined as it was common to strike a pose in specific styles in religious iconography of the 15th and 16th centuries.

The talk takes place on Wednesday 14 August 2019 at 4pm and tickets cost 8pm.

A summer view of Haddo House seen from the gardens, with a number of beds laid out and a fountain in the centre.
Haddo House in Aberdeenshire

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