Virgin holds the Child on Her lap, the glances of both Virgin and Child are directed to an undetermined group of onlookers.
St John, as is often the case in Raphael's Madonna paintings, stands in adoration to the right of Virgin and Child.
A pretty legend is attached to this painting which tells the story of a hermit, the beautiful daughter of a wine-dresser and Raphael.
"Centuries ago, there dwelt among the Italian hills near Rome a venerable hermit, whom the people called Father Bernardo.
During a terrible storm his life was saved by Mary, the beautiful daughter of a wine-dresser, and by an old oak-tree in whose branches he had taken refuge; so he prayed to God to distinguish them in some way.
Years passed away, the hermit died, and the oak-tree was converted into casks for Mary's father.
One day Mary was sitting by one of these casks playing with her children, the elder of whom ran towards her with a stick made into the shape of a cross.
Raphael had long been seeking a model for a picture of the Virgin and Child; just then he passed by, and seeing the group, stopped and drew them on the smooth cover of the wine cask.
This he took away with him, and on it painted the Madonna della Sedia.
Thus was the blessing and desire of the old hermit realized, and Mary and the oak were distinguished for all time." [Mrs. Clement, "Christian Symbols and Stories of the Saints," pp. 213-4.]