About The Book

Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello is now available for purchase.

Front cover of Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello
Back cover of Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello

April 6, 2020 marks 500 years since the death of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. When he died at only 37 years old, he left the most beautiful paintings, particularly many of the Madonna and Child. One particular painting on canvas by Raffaello, for Leonello Pio da Carpi, but since then it was never seen again.

The Capodimonte Museum in Naples describes the 1518 painting on wood as the “Madonna of Divine Love” by Raffaello, but since the eighteen century many art historians believe that the painting on wood is by GianFranceso Penni, Raffaello’s pupil, so where is the original painting by Raffaello?

This painting was not mentioned for almost five-hundred years. Where was it? Elma believed she had an original Raffaello painting, and she wanted to know whether the story told by her aunt Anna was correct.

Carla Nicole De Petris fell in love with this painting, and the story fascinated her. This story follows the history of the painting and the story of the research.


About The Paintings in Question

Since the late eighteen-hundreds, the Art Historians have debated if the 1518 painting on wood, in the Farnese Collection called “The Madonna of Divine Love” exhibited in the Museum of Capodimonte, Naples, attributed to Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, is instead painted by Raffaello’s pupil, Gian Francesco Penni.

Left: 1) painting on wood / Right: 2) painting on canvas

The painting on the left was painted on wood in 1518 for Pope Paul III, Farnese collection and in 1731 the collection was brought to Naples and the painting is registered as the Madonna of Divine Love by Raffaello in the catalog of the Capodimonte Museum.

Since 1850 many Art Historians believe that this painting is by Raffaello’s pupil Gianfrancesco Penni, but in 2015 the Museum still attributed it to Raffaello.

The painting on the right is a painting bought in 1871 in Rome by an American Lady with the story by Monsignor Nardi at the Vatican that it was the 1514 original painting on canvas by Raffaello for Signor Leonello Pio da Carpi. Than it was in the collection of Taddeo Barberini and at his death, in 1647, his wife Anna Colonna Barberini entered the convent and pursued to build the  Monastery where she brought this painting. In 1861 during the Unification of Italy the State sequestered the Monastery, that became a prison, and the painting was sold to the American Lady and it remain in the same family for more than one hundred years. In 1982 I had the request to research the history and find the answer if it was painted by Raffaello.

“My research is about the history of five important Dynasties of the 1500-1600 as the Pio da Carpi, Falco Pio di Savoia, Farnese and Barberini and to find the record of a 1514 original painting on canvas attributed to Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino originally painted for Leonello Pio da Carpi with dubious historical records after 1564.

The story is, also, how I found the painting and how it was authenticated as an original Raffaello.” ~Carla Nicole De Petris

It has been my quest to bring the attention to the art-interested public the story that was told by a Monsignor Nardi of the Vatican City to an American woman and show the similarity and the differences of the two paintings. The purpose to tell this story is to know what the public’s opinion will be.

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