Saturday, December 23, 2017

09 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Raphael's muse Margarita Luti Part 1, with Footnotes. #22

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (March 28 or April 6, 1483 – April 6, 1520), known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.


Raphael, (1483–1520)
“Woman with a veil (La Donna Velata)”, c. 1516
82 by 61 cm (32 by 24 inches)
Galleria Palatina, Florence, Italy

La Donna Velata may not be Raphael's most famous painting to the layman, but it's considered to be in par with Leonardo's Mona Lisa. One of Raphael's distinctions is his attention to the clothing of the subjects of his portraits, this one depicting opulence. More on this painting

Margarita Luti (also Margherita Luti or La Fornarina, "the baker's daughter") was the mistress and model of Raphael. The story of their love has become "the archetypal artist-model relationship of Western tradition", yet little is known of her life. Of her, Flaubert wrote, in his Dictionary of Received Ideas, "Fornarina. She was a beautiful woman. That is all you need to know.


Raphael, (1483–1520)
Madonna della Seggiola/ Mary with Christ Child and John the Baptist, c. 1513-1514
Oil on panel
Diameter 71 cm
Pitti Palace, Firenze

Painted during his Roman period, this Madonna does not have the strict geometrical form and linear style of his earlier Florentine treatments of the same subject. Instead, the warmer colors seem to suggest the influence of Titian and Raphael's rival Sebastiano del Piombo. More on this painting
From 1517 until his death, Raphael lived in the Palazzo Caprini in the Borgo, in rather grand style. He never married, but in 1514 became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, Cardinal Medici Bibbiena's niece; his lack of enthusiasm seems to be shown by the marriage not having taken place before she died in 1520. He is said to have had many affairs, but a permanent fixture in his life in Rome was "La Fornarina", Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker from Siena.

She was referred to as La Fornarina. In a letter of 1806, Melchior Missirini recounted the tale of their first meeting, of how Raphael fell in love after watching her as she bathed her feet in the Tiber in the garden beside his house in Trastevere, only to discover that "her mind was as beautiful as her body"


Raphael, (1483–1520)
Madonna di Foligno, c. 1511
Oil on wood, transferred to canvas
320 cm × 194 cm (130 in × 76 in)
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City

This painting was executed for Sigismondo de' Conti, chamberlain to Pope Julius II, in 1511. In 1799 it was carried to Paris, France by Napoleon. There, in 1802, the painting was transferred from panel to canvas and restored. In 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo, it was returned to Italy. 

Rather than sitting under a canopy, of the Umbrian or Florentine style, the Virgin is seated on clouds, embracing Jesus, while surrounded by angels. They look down upon Sigismonde de' Conti, kneeling in a red, fur lined cape. Conti is presented by St. Jerome on the right with his lion, appealing for the Virgin's protection. More on this painting


Raphael, (1483–1520)
Madonna di Foligno, c. 1511
Detail

Raphael was a "very amorous man and affectionate towards the ladies". He is said to have painted portraits of his mistress and to have assigned the engraver il Baviera to serve as her page. When commissioned by Agostino Chigi to decorate the Villa Farnesina, he was unable to dedicate himself properly to his work due to his infatuation - until she was allowed to come to live at his side. According to Vasari, it was Raphael's immoderate indulgence in "amorous pleasures", one day taken to excess, that brought on the fever which led to the young artist's death in 1520. On his deathbed he sent his mistress away "with the means to live an honest life".


Raphael, (1483–1520)
The Transfiguration, c. 1516–20
Tempera on wood
405 cm × 278 cm (159 in × 109 in)
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City

The Transfiguration is the last painting by Raphael. Commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de Medici, the later Pope Clement VII (1523–1534) and conceived as an altarpiece for the Narbonne Cathedral in France, Raphael worked on it until his death in 1520. The painting exemplifies Raphael's development as an artist and the culmination of his career. Unusually for a depiction of the Transfiguration of Jesus in Christian art, the subject is combined with an additional episode from the Gospels in the lower part of the painting.


In the first, the Transfiguration of Christ itself, Moses and Elijah appear before the transfigured Christ with Peter, James and John looking on In the lower register, Raphael depicts the Apostles attempting to free the possessed boy of his demonic possession. They are unable to cure the sick child until the arrival of the recently transfigured Christ, who performs a miracle. More on this painting


Raphael, (1483–1520)
The Transfiguration, c. 1516–20
Tempera on wood
Detail, the lower register

Two portraits by Raphael are identified as those of Margarita, La Fornarina (Below), where she is naked from the waist up, and La donna velata (Top). The former was already the subject of several early testimonies before featuring in a 1642 inventory of the Barberini collection. X-ray analysis during restoration work at the beginning of the twenty-first century revealed a ring with a ruby on the third finger of her left hand. She wears a ribbon with the artist's name; the ring may hint at betrothal and the depth of their bond. The latter work is identified as a portrait of Raphael's mistress, "whom he loved until he died, and of whom he made a most beautiful portrait, which seems spirited and alive". She also served as his model for the Virgin and in other religious works: her features have been traced in the Madonna della seggiola (Above), the Madonna di Foligno (Above), the kneeling figure in the Transfiguration (Above), the Stanze di Raffaello (Below), the Ecstasy of St. Cecilia  (Below), and in Galatea (Below)


Raphael,  (1483–1520)
Adam and Eve (ceiling panel), c. 1509 and 1511
Fresco
Height: 120 cm (47.2 in). Width: 105 cm (41.3 in).
Apostolic Palace, Rome

Raphael,  (1483–1520)
The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia/ St. Cecilia Altarpiece, c. 1516–1517
Oil transferred from panel to canvas
220 cm × 136 cm (87 in × 54 in)
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna

Completed in his later years, around 1516-1517, the painting depicts Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians and Church music, listening to a choir of angels. St. Cecilia's companions are identified in part by their attributes. Immediately to her right, John the Evangelist has an eagle, his usual symbol, peeking out around his robes. Beside him, Paul leans on the sword with which he had come to be identified in medieval art. Augustine of Hippo holds his crosier. Mary Magdalene holds the alabaster jar by which she is most commonly identified. More on this painting


Raphael,  (1483–1520)
The Triumph of Galatea, c. 1514
Fresco
9' 8" x 7' 5".
Villa Farnesina, Rome

Galatea; "she who is milk-white", was a sea-nymph, the fairest and most beloved of the 50 Nereids. In Ovid's Metamorphoses she appears as the beloved of Acis. When a jealous rival, the Sicilian Cyclops Polyphemus, killed him with a boulder, Galatea then turned his blood into the Sicilian River Acis, of which he became the spirit. According to Athenaeus, the story was first concocted by Philoxenus of Cythera as a political satire against the Sicilian tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse, whose favourite concubine, Galatea, shared her name with the nymph. Others claim the story was invented to explain the presence of a shrine dedicated to Galatea on Mount Etna. More on Galatea

Raphael did not paint any of the main events of the story. He chose the scene of the nymph's apotheosis. Galatea appears surrounded by other sea creatures whose forms are somewhat inspired by Michelangelo, whereas the bright colors and decoration are supposed to be inspired by ancient Roman painting. At the left, a Triton abducts a sea nymph; behind them, another Triton uses a shell as a trumpet. Galatea rides a shell-chariot drawn by two dolphins. Galatea was his only major mythology

When asked where he had found a model of such beauty, Raphael reportedly said that he had used "a certain idea" he had formed in his mind.  More on this painting











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