When I was in Florence, touring the Palazzo Pitti, this painting stopped me in my tracks. The composition is utterly perfect and yet relaxed and natural. The colors and textures of the fabrics feel durable and comforting. The upright post of the chair, perhaps a symbol of the cross and perhaps not, tells me this is a domestic setting, maybe even a kitchen. I want a chair like that. Raphael painted these three figures--Mary, Jesus, and John the Baptist--many times over, but never with such understated elegance.