Raffael: Madonna mit dem Kind und den Heiligen Johannes der Täufer und Nikolaus von Bari (Madonna Ansidei), 1505, Mischtechnik auf Pappelholz, 216,8 x 147,6 cm. Inv. Nr. NG 1171, National Gallery, London
Among the great treasures of the Collection of Prints and Drawings at the Städel Museum are a group of drawings by Raphael, of which this pen-and-ink drawing is one. Raphael created it at the age of about twenty 20, when he was busy with the first altar paintings for clients from his home region of Umbria. Here, the Madonna sits enthroned and presents the Infant Jesus, who is blessing the viewer. Before the throne stands the youthful Nicholas of Tolentino, a saintly monk who lived in central Italy during the thirteenth century. He is identified as such by the star on his breast, which, according to legend, accompanied him.