This is an oil painting on wood of considerable dimensions (184 x 175 cm). And although today it is exhibited individually in the Borghese Gallery in Rome, this panel by Raphael was originally conceived as part of a possibly larger altarpiece.
Treated in this way in isolation, it can be considered a good example of the classical painting represented by this Renaissance artist. Something that manifests itself in the balance and harmony of the whole, based on the composition of the scene organized from the figure of a triangle. The main figures of the scene are integrated into this triangle, those who support the inert body of Christ.
The Transfer of Christ by Raphael
Another feature that draws attention is the portentous monumentality that he knows how to give to each and every one of the characters that make up the scene.
But you have to imagine the work within a larger set that would be theBaglioni altarpiece, commissioned in 1507 byAtalanta Baglionien memory of her own murdered son. In this way, the face of the Virgin, who faints on the right side of the panel when she sees the approach to the lifeless body of Jesus, should reflect the pain of the commissioner.
Actually, each face is carefully crafted by the artist. They are faces that show all the expressions of pain: despair, contention,the absorbed looks and the most sore and tearful. There is a whole treatment on the matter throughout the sequence.
The good thing about this painting is that up to 16 preparatory sketches from the hand of Divino Rafael, as he was known at the time, have also been preserved. So we almost have the entire creative cycle of the artist. In this process we see that from the beginning he had a basic triangular composition for the transfer scene. On the contrary, the relationship between that Transfer of Jesus and the scene of the Fainting of the Virgin, which was so important for the woman who commissioned the work, has different approaches in the sketches. And likewise in the succession of previous drawings you can also see how certain figures are changing, and even their proportions within the set.
In short, this work, without being one of the author's best for art critics, is quite a treasure as it can be studied as the end of a long creative process, in which we know that the artist invested a lot time and drawings that are true treasures for scholars.