Madonna and Child

Like This Banksy Print?

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The Madonna and Child by 1500s painter Rafael is another of the many masterpieces remixed by Banksy. This oil painting made appearances in both his 2005 Banksy Crude Oils exhibition in Notting Hill and the 2009 Banksy Versus Bristol Museum. A lot of people who venerate images of the Virgin Mary and Her Infant Jesus probably found this piece offensive.

The Rafael painting it is closest to is the one where the Madonna is holding a book in one hand and the infant in the other. In Banksys version, the Madonna is wearing earphones jacked into the iPod she is holding in her hand. Both the mother and the child have halos over their heads; the original Rafael version does not. The colors used are typical of those used by painters in the early 16th century.

The impression one gets from the Banksy painting is very different from the Rafael. In the original, the mother appears to be communicating the contents of the book with the child. Her focus is thus centered on the infant in her arms. The Madonna in the Banksy appears to be preoccupied with the music she is listening to. The child is also depicted as curiously holding the iPod instead of gazing at his mother.

This subversive guerilla artwork implies the materialistic emphasis of religion today as opposed to the spiritual.

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