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Title: Raphael
Author: Konody, Paul G. (Paul George), 1872-1933
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    ARTIST.                  AUTHOR.
  VELAZQUEZ.             S. L. BENSUSAN.
  REYNOLDS.              S. L. BENSUSAN.
  TURNER.                C. LEWIS HIND.
  ROMNEY.                C. LEWIS HIND.
  GREUZE.                ALYS EYRE MACKLIN.
  BELLINI.               GEORGE HAY.
  LEIGHTON.              A. LYS BALDRY.
  RAPHAEL.               PAUL G. KONODY.
  TITIAN.                S. L. BENSUSAN.
  MILLAIS.               A. LYS BALDRY.
  TINTORETTO.            S. L. BENSUSAN.
  LUINI.                 JAMES MASON.
  VAN DYCK.              PERCY M. TURNER.
  RUBENS.                S. L. BENSUSAN.
  WHISTLER.              T. MARTIN WOOD.
  HOLBEIN.               S. L. BENSUSAN.
  CHARDIN.               PAUL G. KONODY.
  MEMLINC.               W. H. J. & J. C. WEALE.
  CONSTABLE.             C. LEWIS HIND.
  RAEBURN.               JAMES L. CAW.
  LAWRENCE.              S. L. BENSUSAN.
  DÜRER.                 H. E. A. FURST.
  MILLET.                PERCY M. TURNER.
  WATTEAU.               C. LEWIS HIND.
  HOGARTH.               C. LEWIS HIND.
  MURILLO.               S. L. BENSUSAN.
  WATTS.                 W. LOFTUS HARE.
  INGRES.                A. J. FINBERG.
  COROT.                 SIDNEY ALLNUTT.
  DELACROIX.             PAUL G. KONODY.

  _Others in Preparation._

[Illustration: PLATE I.--THE ANSIDEI MADONNA. Frontispiece

(In the National Gallery, London)

Better than any other picture by Raphael, this important altar-piece
shows the precociousness of Raphael's genius, for it was painted at
Perugia in 1506, when the master had scarcely passed into the
twenty-third year of his life. He had then just returned from Florence,
but, probably to humour his patrons, the Ansidei family, he reverted in
this picture once again to the formal manner of his second master,
Perugino. The "Ansidei Madonna" has the distinction of being the most
costly picture at the National Gallery--it was purchased in 1885 from
the Duke of Marlborough for £70,000.]




  [Illustration: IN SEMPITERNUM]

  LONDON: T. C. & E. C. JACK


     I. The Ansidei Madonna               Frontispiece
          In the National Gallery, London

    II. The Madonna del Gran Duca                   14
          In the Pitti Palace, Florence

   III. The Madonna della Sedia                     24
          In the Pitti Palace, Florence

    IV. "La Belle Jardinière"                       34
          In the Louvre

     V. The Madonna of the Tower                    40
          In the National Gallery, London

    VI. Pope Julius II.                             50
          In the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

   VII. Putto with Garland                          60
          In the Academy of St. Luca, Rome

  VIII. Portrait of Raphael                         70
          In the Uffizi Gallery, Florence


"And I tell you that to paint one beautiful woman, I should need to see
several beautiful women, and to have you with me to choose the best,"
wrote Raphael, then at the zenith of his fame and good fortune, to his
life-long friend Count Baldassare Castiglione, who--the ideal courtier
himself--has given the world that immortal monument of Renaissance
culture, the Book of the Courtier. In penning these lines the prince of
painters intended, perhaps, no more than a pretty compliment to one who
was himself a model of courtesy and graceful speech, but the words
would gain deep significance if _picture_ were substituted for _woman_,
and if Castiglione were taken to signify the personification of
intellect and learning. For the beauty of Raphael's art, which in the
course of four centuries has lost none of its hold upon the admiration
of mankind, is distilled from the various elements of beauty contained
in the art that had gone before him and was being created around him;
and in choosing the best, at least as far as idea and conception are
concerned, he was guided by the deepest thinkers and keenest intellects
of what were then the world's greatest centres of culture.

Raphael was, indeed, born under a happy constellation. He was not a
giant of intellect, nor an epoch-making genius; as Michelangelo said of
him, he owed his art less to nature than to study; but he was born at a
time when two centuries of gradual artistic development had led up to a
point where an artist was needed to gather up the diverging threads and
bring the movement to a culmination, which will stand for all times as
a standard of perfection. Advantages of birth and early surroundings,
charm of appearance and disposition which made him a favourite wherever
he went, receptivity, adaptability, and application, and above all an
early and easy mastery of technique, were combined in Raphael to lead
him to this achievement. The smooth unclouded progress of his life from
recognition to fame, from prosperity to affluence, is not the turbulent
way of genius. Genius walks a sad and lonely path. Michelangelo, the
turbulent spirit, morose and dissatisfied, Lionardo da Vinci, pursuing
his high ideals without a thought of worldly success until his lonely
old age sees him expatriated and contemplating the fruitlessness of all
his labours--these men of purest genius have little in common with the
pliant courtier Raphael, the head himself of a little court of faithful
followers. The story goes that Michelangelo, in the bitterness of his
spirit, when meeting his happy rival at the head of his usual army of
some fifty dependants on his way to the Papal court, addressed him with
the words "You walk like the sheriff with his _posse comitatus_." And
Raphael, quick at repartee, retorted "And you, like an executioner
going to the scaffold." Whether the anecdote be true or not, it marks
the difference between the course of talent--albeit the rarest
talent--and that of genius.


(In the Pitti Palace, Florence)

This picture, remarkable for the effective simplicity of its design and
for the purity of the Virgin's face, derives the name by which it is
commonly known from the fact that it was bought in 1799 by the Grand
Duke Ferdinand III. from a poor widow, and held by him in such esteem
that he would never part from it and always took it with him on his
travels. At one time it was actually credited with the power of working
miracles. It is one of the first works of Raphael's Florentine period,
and now hangs in the Pitti Palace, Florence.]

What are the qualities of Raphael's art that have carried his fame
unsullied through the ages and made him the most popular, the most
admired, of all painters? The greatest of the primitives, and of the
later masters Velazquez, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Watteau, to mention
only a few of the brightest beacons in the realm of art, have at some
time or other been eclipsed and held in slight esteem. Raphael alone
escaped the inconstancy of popular favour; he was set up as an idol
before he left the world to mourn his untimely death, and in the course
of the years the world's idolatrous worship was extended even to the
feeble handiwork of his assistants, which often passed under his name.
Only within the memory of living men did this blind and
indiscriminating worship lead to a reaction as indiscriminating. But
this reaction was confined to a comparatively small circle of
æsthetically inclined art enthusiasts; and to-day, when the more
scientific methods of criticism have succeeded in sifting the wheat
from the chaff--the master's own work from the factory-like production
of his bottega--he has been reinstated in all his former glory.
Contemptuous hostility to Raphael's art has ceased to be a fashionable
pose. The frank acknowledgment of the perfection of this art is no
longer stayed by the consciousness of the harm done by that imperfect
imitation of the Raphaelic code of beauty, which has been the result of
all academic teaching in Europe since the founding of the Prix de Rome.

Beauty, formal beauty, pure and faultless, must appeal to everybody;
and Raphael means to us the perfection of beauty--such beauty as lies
in rhythm, balance, colour, form, and execution. It is a calculated
beauty, the lucid, unambiguous expression of an absolutely normal,
well-balanced mind assisted by an unerring hand; hence it is
intelligible to everybody without that unconscious mental effort which
is needed for the understanding of an art of greater emotional
intensity. It is of the very essence of art that it should express an
emotion; a picture which is merely imitative without holding a hint of
what the artist felt at the time of creating it, ceases to be a work of
art, even if it represents a subject beautiful in itself. On the other
hand, an ugly subject may be raised to sublime art by emotional
statement; but this emotion is of necessity more complex and more
difficult to understand than that simplest of all emotions, the
pleasure caused by the contemplation of beauty. This accounts for the
common fallacy that art and beauty are indissolubly connected, and for
the favouritism shown by all the successive generations to Raphael
whose brush was wedded to beauty in the classic sense, and whose art
knew nothing of the beauty of character.

But beauty alone does not constitute Raphael's greatness, or Bouguereau
and many other modern academic painters would have to be accounted
great instead of being merely dull and insipid. Raphael developed to
its utmost power of expressiveness the art of space-composition, the
secret of which was the heritage of the Umbrian painters. What
space-composition means cannot be better defined than it has been by
Mr. Berenson: "Space-composition differs from ordinary composition in
the first place most obviously in that it is not an arrangement to be
judged as extending only laterally, or up and down on a flat surface,
but as extending inwards in depth as well. It is composition in three
dimensions, and not in two, in the cube, not merely on the surface....
Painted space-composition opens out the space it frames in, puts
boundaries only ideal to the roof of heaven. All that it uses, whether
the forms of the natural landscape, or of grand architecture, or even
of the human figure, it reduces to be its ministrants in conveying a
sense of untrammelled, but not chaotic spaciousness. In such pictures,
how freely one breathes--as if a load had just been lifted from one's
breast; how refreshed, how noble, how potent one feels; again, how
soothed; and still again, how wafted forth to abodes of far-away

This sense of space and depth is achieved by methods which have nothing
in common with our modern art of creating the illusion of what is
called "atmosphere"--not by the "losing and finding" of contours, not
by the application of optical theories, such as the zone of
interchanging rays which dissolves all hard outlines, nor by the
blurring and fogging of the distance. Space-composition in the sense in
which it was practised by Raphael is closely akin to the art of
architecture in its appeal to our emotions.

As an illustrator, again, Raphael was unequalled as regards clear,
direct, measured statement of all that is essential to the immediate
grasping of the idea or incident depicted. The first glance at one of
Raphael's works, whether it be a small panel picture or a monumental
fresco, reveals its whole purport, and that in a manner so complete and
lucid and convincing as could not be achieved by any other method of
expression. With infallible sureness he invariably found the shortest
way for the harmonious statement of idea, form, and emotion, which in
his work are always found in perfect balance and so completely
permeated by each other as to constitute an indissoluble trinity.

Another reason for Raphael's powerful appeal--and in this he is perhaps
the most typical child of his period--is that his art unites in one
majestic current the two greatest movements of thought which have ever
fired the imagination of civilised Europe; classic antiquity and
Christian faith, when treated by Raphael's brush, cease to be
incompatible and live side by side in that measured harmony which is
the hall-mark of his art. Christianity is presented to us in the
glorious classic garb of the old world, and the myth and philosophy of
the ancients are brought into intimate relationship with Christian
teaching. He infuses new blood and life into the stones of ancient
Greece and Rome--unlike Mantegna who had remained cold and classic in
his relief-like reconstructions of antiquity; just as he accentuates
the human emotional side of the Madonna and Child _motif_ by discarding
all hieroglyphic symbolism and setting before our eyes the intimate
link of love that connects mother and babe. Almost imperceptibly his
cupids are transformed into child angels, and the Jehovah of his
"Vision of Ezekiel" has more in common with Olympian Jove than with
the mediæval conception of the Lord of Heaven.


(In the Pitti Palace, Florence)

The Madonna "of the Chair," one of the most characteristic and
deservedly popular of Raphael's numerous versions of the Virgin and
Child _motif_, belongs to the master's full maturity, and was painted
during his sojourn in Rome, at the time when he was occupied with the
stupendous task of decorating the _Stanze_ of the Vatican. It would be
difficult to find in the whole history of art a more pleasing solution
of the problem presented by a figure composition in the round. The
picture is now in the Pitti Palace, Florence.]

Just as Timoteo Viti, Perugino, Fra Bartolommeo, Lionardo da Vinci,
Masaccio, Michelangelo, and Sebastiano del Piombo (who imparted to him
something of the glow of Venetian colouring), had been the sources from
which Raphael drew his knowledge of technique, colour, composition, and
all the elements of pictorial style, so the humanists had paved his way
as regards the intellectual aspect of his art. His marvellous faculty
of rapid assimilation enabled him, on the one hand, to appropriate
whatever he found worthy of imitation in his precursors and
contemporaries, and thus to complete his technical equipment at an age
at which it was given to few to have achieved mastery; whilst, on the
other hand, his clear intellect, aided by the not entirely unmercenary
desire to please his patrons, helped him to carry out with
triumphant success the ideas evolved by the keenest thinkers of his
time. To doubt that the general idea, and perhaps a good many of the
details, of such a stupendous work as the fresco decoration of the
_Stanze_ at the Vatican, had originated in Raphael's head, is not to
detract from his greatness. He was a boy in his early teens when he
entered his first master's bottega. He was a youth of twenty-five when
he started on his great task; and the intervening years had been so
completely filled with the study of his craft and with the execution of
important commissions, that it is impossible to believe he could have
found much leisure for book-learning. And such learning was
indispensable for the conception of that elaborate scheme with all its
historical allusions and allegorical imagery. The wonder is that
Raphael could so completely enter into the suggestions made to him
from various sources, and to weave them into a tissue of immortal


At the end of the fifteenth century the rule of the Duke Federigo of
Montefeltre, an enlightened prince who devoted the best of his energy
and such time as he could spare from his duties on the battlefield to
the patronage of the arts, to the adornment of his noble palace, and to
the collecting of priceless manuscripts, paintings, antiques, and works
of art of every description, had raised the old city of Urbino to one
of the centres of culture and learning, and made the ducal court a
gathering-place for the distinguished painters, architects, poets, and
humanists who were attracted by the wealth and liberality of this great
patron. Among the less distinguished satellites attracted by the sun
of Montefeltre was one Giovanni Santi, who had come to Urbino in the
middle of the fifteenth century. Though a painter of considerable
skill, trained perhaps by Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, he found it necessary in
the early days of his sojourn at Urbino to supplement his modest income
by trading in oil and corn and other commodities, as his father had
done before him. But his varied accomplishments soon brought him into
prominence and secured him a position as court painter and poet. More
important than any of the pictures that have come to us from his brush
is his famous rhyming chronicle of 23,000 verses in Dantesque measure,
in which he glorifies the virtues and exploits of his patron. He was a
special favourite of Elisabetta Gonzaga, the youthful spouse of
Federigo's son Guidobaldo, whose high esteem for Giovanni is expressed
in a letter in which she informs her sister-in-law of the court
painter's death.

To this Giovanni Santi and to his wife Magia Ciarla was born on Good
Friday, the 28th of March[1] 1483, a son who was destined in the
comparatively short span of his life to rise to fame such as has been
the share of few mortals. An elder brother and sister of Raphael had
died in infancy, and his mother followed them to the grave before he
had reached his eighth year. Her place in the paternal home was taken
by Bernardina Parte, a goldsmith's daughter, whom Giovanni wedded soon
after his first wife's death. From Giovanni Santi's great poem it would
appear that he was on terms of friendship and intimacy with some of the
greatest masters of the time, such as Melozzo da Forli, Mantegna, Pier
dei Franceschi, and Verrocchio; and it is reasonable to assume that
Raphael's earliest art education under his father's guidance tended
towards the development of that peculiar faculty which enabled him
later on to seize and assimilate the excellences in the style of the
various masters with whom he came in contact.

  Footnote 1: The wording of Raphael's epitaph, which states that he
  died on the same day (of the year) on which he was born, has led some
  writers to the assumption that he was born on April 6, whereas it is
  merely meant to signify that he was born and died on Good Friday.

The ease with which his precocious talent absorbed the teaching of his
masters became evident when, soon after his father's death, in 1494,
from fever contracted in the malarial air of the Mantuan marshland,
whither he had gone in the service of Elisabetta Gonzaga, he entered
the bottega of Francia's pupil Timoteo Viti (or della Vite), who
settled at Urbino in 1495, and whose eminent position among the
painters of that city must have suggested to Raphael's guardian--his
maternal uncle Simone Ciarla--the desirability of placing the youth
under such competent tuition. And so thoroughly did Raphael acquire
not only his first master's style, but even such of his mannerisms as
the broad shape of hands and feet and the languid turn of the heads,
that from such internal evidence Morelli, the originator of the modern
method of criticism, was able after more than three centuries of error
to disprove Vasari's assertion that Raphael passed straight from his
father's workshop into that of Perugino. Timoteo's influence is
apparent even in works painted by Raphael at a time when he had come
under the spell of the more powerful personality of Perugino, like the
"Sposalizio" or "Betrothal of the Virgin," of 1504, in the Brera
Gallery in Milan; but it is unmistakably in evidence in the three
earliest pictures that bear Raphael's name: the "Vision of a Knight,"
at the National Gallery, the "St. Michael," at the Louvre, and the
"Three Graces," at Chantilly. Not only the features which connect this
group of pictures with the style of Timoteo Viti, but the timid
meticulous execution and the naïve stiffness of the figures, mark them
as works of Raphael's immature youth. The turn of the century, as we
shall see, found Raphael at Perugia, so that the three pictures
mentioned must have been painted before he had attained the age of
seventeen. The panel of the "Three Graces," which, by the way, was
obviously inspired by an antique cameo, was bought in 1885 by the Duc
d'Aumale from Lord Dudley's collection for £25,000--surely a price
without parallel for a work painted by a lad of sixteen! A portrait in
chalk of the marvellously gifted, winsome boy by the hand of his first
master is preserved at the University Galleries in Oxford.

The records of a lawsuit between some members of his family prove that
Raphael was still at Urbino in 1499, since in the summer of this year
he appeared as a witness in court. When the verdict was given in the
following year, he had already left for Perugia to continue his studies
as an assistant of Perugino. Again we find him before long assimilating
the style of his new master so successfully and completely that, to use
Vasari's words, "His copies cannot be distinguished from the original
works of the master, nor can the difference between the performances of
Raphael and those of Pietro be discerned with any certainty."
Plagiarism in those days did not trouble the artistic conscience, and
it is easy to trace in Raphael's pictures of that period entire groups
that are borrowed from the elder master. Thus the "Crucifixion,"
painted about 1501 for a church in Città di Castello, and now in the
collection of Dr. Ludwig Mond, is obviously based on Perugino's version
of the same subject at St. Augustine's, Siena, whilst the whole upper
part of the Vatican "Coronation of the Virgin" is "lifted" from an
"Assumption" by Pietro. But this almost literal imitation was only a
passing phase, whilst the great lesson of space-composition and the
typically Umbrian gift of almost religious fervour in stating the
peaceful glory of the Umbrian hill-land, which had been imparted to
Raphael at Perugia, remained permanent acquisitions to his art.


(In the Louvre)

"La Belle Jardinière" is a magnificent example of Raphael's Florentine
style, which came from his being influenced by Leonardo da Vinci when
at Florence (see the triangular composition). The Virgin's mantle was
probably finished by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio; other parts--the hands and
the feet--are hardly finished; nevertheless it is one of the finest,
most expressive, and touching Madonnas by the Master.]

In 1502 Perugino went back to Florence, and Raphael probably joined
Pinturicchio's staff of assistants, though Vasari's statement that he
furnished the designs for the latter master's frescoes in the
Piccolomini Library at Siena may be dismissed as a fable. During this
time Raphael painted his first Madonna pictures, notably the
"Conestabile Madonna" (now at St. Petersburg), which is based entirely
on Perugino's "Virgin with the Pomegranate," and two panels at the
Berlin Museum. The Milan "Sposalizio," in which the young master's
personality already asserts itself through the very marked Ferrarese
and Peruginesque influences, was painted in 1504 for the church of St.
Francesco at Città di Castello. His early mastery in portraiture is
illustrated by his portrait of Perugino at the Borghese Gallery, which
is so firm in character and perfect in execution that it could pass for
many years as the handiwork of Holbein.

Meanwhile Duke Guidobaldo had returned to Urbino after the death of his
enemy, Pope Alexander VI., and thither Raphael proceeded in 1504. The
little "St. George" at the Louvre is a memento of this short visit
which terminated in October of the same year, when Raphael, armed with
a letter of warmest recommendation from Guidobaldo's sister Giovanna
della Rovere to the Gonfaloniere Pier Soderini, left his native town
for Florence, then the centre of artistic life, astir with the rivalry
between the giants Michelangelo and Lionardo da Vinci.

The young man must have been fairly bewildered at the multitude of new
impressions that crowded upon him in the glorious city on the banks of
the Arno, with its imposing palaces and churches, its seething life and
its art so much more virile and monumental than the dreamy, almost
effeminate art engendered by the soft balmy atmosphere of Umbria. How
he must have revelled in the contemplation of Masaccio's noble frescoes
in the Brancacci Chapel--the training school of generations of
painters--which ten years later were echoed in his tapestry cartoons
for the Sistine Chapel! How he must have stood in wonder and amazement
before Michelangelo's "David," and have resolved forthwith to devote
himself to a more intimate study of the human form and movement! The
fascination exercised upon him by the genius of Lionardo found
expression in some of the earliest fruits of Raphael's sojourn in
Florence--the portraits at the Pitti Palace known as "Angelo Doni" and
his wife Maddalena Strozzi, who, however, could not possibly have been
the model for this reminiscence of Lionardo's "Mona Lisa," since it is
known that she was baptized in 1489, whereas Raphael's portrait of 1504
represents a woman of ripe age.

In the workshop of the architect Baccio d'Agnolo, which was then a
favourite social resort of the younger artists of Florence, the youth
from Urbino met on terms of equality such masters as Ridolfo
Ghirlandajo, Antonio da Sangallo, Sansovino, and Fra Bartolommeo, who
again had a considerable share in the formation of Raphael's style, as
may be seen from the "Madonna di Sant'Antonio," now lent to the
National Gallery by Mr. Pierpont Morgan who is said to have paid for it
the enormous price of £100,000. This picture, and the "Ansidei
Madonna," which was bought for the National Gallery from the Duke
of Marlborough's collection for £70,000, were painted during a visit to
Perugia towards the end of 1505--the former for the nuns of St. Antony
of Padua, in Perugia, and the other for the Ansidei Chapel in the
church of San Fiorenzo of the same city.


(In the National Gallery, London)

This beautiful painting, which the National Gallery owes to the
generosity of Miss Eva Mackintosh, who presented it to the nation in
1906, was at one time in the collection of the Duc d'Orléans. The late
owner was fortunate in securing this unquestionably genuine masterpiece
at the Rogers' sale in 1856 for 480 guineas. It was painted about 1512;
and a copy of it by Sassoferrato is in the Leichtenburg collection in
St. Petersburg.]

The records of Raphael's movements between 1504 and 1508, when he
finally left Florence, are scanty and unreliable. Certain it is that,
besides his visit to Perugia, he spent some time at Urbino in 1506,
when he painted for Guidobaldo the "St. George" which figured among the
gifts taken by Castiglione to Henry VII. of England, from whom the Duke
of Urbino had received the insignia of the Garter two years previously.
The picture is now at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The majority of
those exquisite Madonna pictures, which have contributed more than
anything else to Raphael's undying fame and popularity, date from his
Florentine period--the "Madonna del Granduca" at the Pitti Palace, the
"Casa Tempi Madonna" at Munich, the Chantilly "Madonna of the House of
Orleans," the "Madonna of the Meadow" in Vienna, the "Madonna of the
Goldfinch" at the Uffizi, the "Madonna of the Lamb" at Madrid, Lord
Cowper's famous picture at Panshanger, and the "Belle Jardinière" at
the Louvre.

To the same period belongs the portrait of himself, in the Painter's
Hall of the Uffizi, and the portrait of a youth in the Budapest
National Gallery. On the occasion of his visit to Perugia, Atalanta
Baglione, the mother of Grifonetto Baglione who had fallen a victim to
the bloody family feud that turned Perugia into a slaughter-house in
1500, commissioned from Raphael an altar-piece in memory of that
event--the "Entombment" which the master finished in Florence in 1507,
and which is now at the Borghese Gallery. It was Raphael's first
attempt at dramatic composition, the art of which he had yet to
master--its forced, unnatural emotion lays it more open to criticism
than any other work from his own hand.

A law-case in connection with the payment of 100 crowns due by him for
a house he had purchased from the Cervasi family, necessitated
Raphael's presence at Urbino once again in October 1507. In April of
the following year Guidobaldo died; and a letter from Raphael to his
uncle Simone Ciarla, who had informed him of this sad event, proves
that the master was then back again in Florence. After expressing his
grief at the news of the Duke's death ("I could not read your letter
without tears"), Raphael appeals in this letter to his uncle to procure
him another letter of recommendation to the Gonfaloniere of Florence
"from my Lord the Prefect," since it was in the power of the chief
magistrate of Florence to place an important commission for the
decoration of a certain apartment.

But a better fate was in store for the youthful applicant, who was to
be called to a wider field of action. According to Vasari it was
Raphael's kinsman, Bramante of Urbino, who drew Pope Julius II.'s
attention to the rare gifts of Raphael, and caused him to be summoned
to Rome. And the voice of Bramante, who stood in high favour with the
Pope, and was engaged on the scheme of rebuilding the Cathedral of St.
Peter, would certainly have commanded attention. But on this, as on
many other points, Vasari is not wholly trustworthy. First of all,
Bramante was not connected with Raphael by any family ties; and, then,
it is far more probable that the thought of calling Raphael to Rome to
assist in the decoration of the papal apartments in the Vatican was
suggested to Julius II. by the Prefetessa Giovanna della Rovere, who
had always been a staunch supporter of the Urbinate, or by her son
Francesco, the nephew and successor of Duke Guidobaldo Montefeltre.
Bramante, who was on terms of friendship with his fellow-artist and
fellow-townsman, may well have supported the recommendation. However
this may be, Raphael received the Pope's command, and journeyed to
Rome, whither he had already been preceded by Michelangelo.


Raphael came to Rome before September 1508, for on the 5th of that
month he sent a letter from the city of the popes to Francia at
Bologna, whom he had probably met at Urbino. It must have been an
intoxicating experience for the young master to find himself suddenly
surrounded by the wonders of the classic world which at that time
dominated the whole world of thought so that Christianity itself became
permeated with Paganism; and to be as suddenly raised from the modest
position, which in Florence had made him look with awe and veneration
upon Michelangelo and Lionardo, to independent responsibility, as the
compeer of the greatest of his calling. From the very first Pope Julius
II. seems to have placed the utmost confidence in the newcomer, and the
manner in which Raphael accomplished the first task set to him by his
mighty patron not only justified this confidence but apparently made
the Pope dissatisfied with much of the decorative work that had been
executed in the Vatican rooms before the advent of the Urbinate.

Julius II.'s hatred of his predecessor, Alexander VI., had made it
distasteful for him to live in the apartments that had been occupied by
the Borgia Pope, so that he decided, in 1507, to move into the upper
rooms of the Vatican, which, under the pontificate of Nicholas V., had
been decorated by Pier dei Franceschi and Bramantino. These frescoes,
however, did not find favour with the new Pope, who enlisted the
services of Perugino, Peruzzi, Sodoma, Signorelli, and Pinturicchio for
the redecoration of the _Stanze_, and finally entrusted Raphael with
the painting of four medallions in Sodoma's ceiling in the first room,
the Camera della Signatura. There has been some divergence of opinion
as to the use of this room, but the subjects of the decorative scheme
clearly point towards its being originally intended for a library. The
allegorical figures of Theology, Philosophy, Jurisprudence, and Poetry
with which Raphael filled the four medallions of the vaulted ceiling,
were often used for the decoration of libraries during the late
Renaissance; and the frequent occurrence of books in all the
compositions lends further probability to this theory.

So delighted was Julius II. with the manner in which Raphael had
acquitted himself of his first commission, that he, forthwith, charged
him with the decoration of the entire suite of four rooms, and
ruthlessly decreed the destruction of all the fresco-work previously
done by other hands. But Raphael, in his hour of victory, gave proof of
that generous and amiable disposition which endeared him to all with
whom he came in contact. He prevailed upon his impetuous employer to
save some of the work of Baldassare Peruzzi and of Perugino, and
Sodoma's ceiling decoration in the Camera della Signatura. A series of
heads by Bramantino, "so beautiful and so perfectly executed, that the
power of speech alone was required to give them life," had to go, but
before their destruction Raphael had them copied by one of his
assistants. After his death these copies were presented by Giulio
Romano to Paolo Giovio, and it is more than probable that they are
identical with the "Bramantino" portraits from the Willett collection,
now at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and at South Kensington. Sir
Caspar Pardon Clarke, the director of the former institution, at least
favours this theory which I first advanced in the _New York Herald_ in

[Illustration: PLATE VI.--POPE JULIUS II.

(In the Uffizi Gallery, Florence)

Raphael's greatness as a portrait painter may be judged from his
painting of his first papal patron, the warlike Giuliano della Rovere,
who as Pope adopted the name of Julius II. This portrait has more than
the perfection of form, colour, and execution that is ever associated
with Raphael's name. It has depth of character, dignity, and serious
concentration of thought, and is worthy of being placed beside
Velazquez's immortal portrait of Pope Innocent X. The picture is at the
Uffizi Gallery, but replicas are to be found at the Palazzo Pitti and
at the National Gallery.]

But to return to Raphael's work in the Camera della Signatura, the
thought and knowledge and learning displayed in the whole scheme either
prove that the young master rapidly fell into line with the
intellectual movement of his day, or that he wisely sought the advice
of those who stood at the head of this movement. Indeed, we know of a
letter in which he asks the poet Ariosto to advise him about certain
details. Moreover, the Pope himself, no doubt, suggested his own ideas
to his favourite painter; whilst the cultured Cardinal Bibbiena, Count
Baldassare Castiglione, and the famous humanist Pietro Bembo, his
intimate friends, were ever at his disposal, and Bramante probably
assisted him in designing the architectural setting to his groups.
Raphael himself, though extraordinarily receptive, and better able than
anybody else to clothe an idea in the most perfect pictorial forms, was
not a man of learning. With Dante's and Petrarch's poetry he must have
been made familiar in his father's house. He had probably dipped into
the writings of Marsilio Ficino, and also acquired a knowledge of the
rudiments of classic lore; but that he never mastered the Latin tongue,
which was then a _sine quâ non_ of all real culture and learning, is
clearly evident from the fact that in the closing years of his life,
when he held the appointment of inspector of antiquities, he had to
enlist the learned humanist Andrea Fulvio to translate for him the
Latin inscriptions on classic ruins.

In the Camera della Signatura, Raphael's entire decoration has the same
sense of orderly arrangement, the same unity of conception in the
endless variety of _motif_ and incident, as each individual fresco of
the scheme. On the pendentives, which connect the ceiling medallions
with the large frescoes on the walls, he painted the "Fall of Man" next
to "Theology," the "Judgment of Solomon" next to "Law," the "Triumph of
Apollo over Marsyas" to accompany "Poetry," and an allegorical
representation of "Astronomy" (or "Natural Science") to go with
"Philosophy." After an enormous amount of preparatory work he proceeded
to fill the large wall under "Theology" with the wonderful monumental
fresco known as the "Disputa del Sacramento," which, far from
representing a dispute, shows the confessors and saints and fathers of
the Church (and among them Dante, Savonarola, and Fra Angelico) united
in acknowledging the triumph of the Church and the miracle of the

On the opposite wall, under "Philosophy," is the so-called "School of
Athens," in which, in accordance with the contradictory spirit of the
age, the philosophic systems of the ancient world are glorified in the
same manner as is Christianity in the "Disputa." In that nobly-arranged
group of philosophers, Raphael's friends and contemporaries--Bramante,
Lionardo, Castiglione, Francesco della Rovere, Federigo Gonzaga,
Sodoma, the artist himself, and many others--figure in the guise of
Euclid, Plato, Zoroaster, and other sages. Raphael's compositional
skill was not baffled by the awkward intrusion of large door-frames
into the space of the remaining two walls, on one of which, under the
Poetry medallion, he depicted "Parnassus," with the muses and poets
(Homer, Virgil, Dante, Ariosto, Boccaccio, Tebaldeo, Sappho, &c.)
grouped around Apollo, who plays a viol instead of the customary lyre.
Above the door on the last wall are allegorical figures of Fortitude,
Prudence, and Temperance, and at the sides "Justinian delivering the
Pandects," and "Gregory IX." (impersonated by Julius II.) promulgating
the Decretals. The entire room was finished before November 1511.

It was probably in the same year that Raphael painted the magnificent
portrait of Julius II. at the Pitti Palace, stern of feature and
careworn, as he well might have appeared at this time of political
disaster culminating in the loss of Bologna. But when Raphael set about
the decoration of the "Stanza of Heliodorus," the Pope's star was again
in the ascendant, and his policy had achieved the signal triumph of
defeating the French and driving them out of the country. The subjects
chosen for the decoration of this room are in consequence more or less
directly connected with these events, especially the fresco from which
the apartment derives its name: the "Expulsion of Heliodorus from the
Temple of Jerusalem"--an obvious allusion to the expulsion of the
French forces. The fresco is remarkable for the effective contrast of
the tumultuous dramatic movement on the right, and the stately repose
of the group on the left, around the majestically enthroned figure of
Pope Julius II.

The same potentate of the Church appears kneeling opposite the
officiating priest in the fresco of the "Mass of Bolsena," which
illustrates the miracle of drops of blood appearing from the Host
before the eyes of the priest who doubts the dogma of the
transubstantiation, an event which has led to the institution of the
Corpus Christi celebration. The fresco was probably inspired by Julius
himself, who had visited the chapel of Bolsena on his campaign against
Bologna, and perhaps made a vow on this occasion to commemorate his
visit by a votive offering. This "Mass of Bolsena" fresco is remarkable
for the almost Venetian glow of warm colour, a result, no doubt, of the
knowledge imparted to Raphael by Sebastiano del Piombo, who had come to
Rome from Venice in 1511. The wall opposite illustrates the "Liberation
of St. Peter from Prison," which is, however, not an allusion, as has
been suggested, to Leo X.'s escape from French captivity, since it was
begun under the régime of Julius II., who more probably intended it to
signify the Deliverance of the Church. On the last wall is depicted the
"Retreat of Attila before St. Leo," with Leo X., who had succeeded
Julius II. in 1513, impersonating his namesake, but there is little of
Raphael's handiwork in this fresco, the execution of which is almost
entirely due to his assistants. The decoration of this stanza was
completed in 1514, a year which brought further honours and duties to
Raphael who was then appointed to succeed Bramante as architect of St.


(In the Academy of St. Luca, Rome)

The fresco of a _putto_, now at the Academy of St. Luca in Rome, is the
only fragment that is left to the world of all the decorative work
executed by Raphael for the corridor leading from the famous _Stanze_
of the Vatican to the Belvedere. It probably belonged to a shield
bearing the papal arms, and is a graceful and characteristic example of
the master's treatment of the form of children which he loved to
introduce into his compositions.]

Henceforth Raphael is to be considered rather as the head of a little
army of painters and craftsmen, whom he supplied with ideas and designs
to be executed under his directions, than as a master who is to be held
responsible for the working out of every detail in the works which were
turned out from his bottega with his sanction, and under his name. Even
in the early years of his Roman period, comparatively few of the
altar-pieces and easel pictures commissioned from him were entirely the
work of his brush. In the ever popular "Madonna della Sedia," at the
Pitti Palace, we have pure Raphael, and also in the masterpiece known
as the "Madonna di Foligno," which was painted for the Pope's
Chamberlain Sigismondi dei Conti, for his family chapel in the church
of Ara Coeli in 1512, in commemoration of this dignitary's escape from
a bursting fireball, as is indicated by the meteor in the landscape
background. This picture was subsequently removed to Sigismondo's
birthplace Foligno, whence it was carried off by the French in 1797,
but had to be eventually restored, and is now among the treasures of
the Vatican. The sadly deteriorated "Madonna of the Tower," at the
National Gallery, and the "Madonna di Casa d'Alba," at the Hermitage,
are probably of the master's own execution; but Giulio Romano and other
pupils must be held responsible for the "Vierge au Diadème," the
"Madonna del divino Amore," the "Garvagh Madonna," the "Madonna of the
Fish," the "Madonna of the Candelabra," and several other well-known
pictures for which Raphael had supplied the designs.


A letter written by Raphael to his uncle Simone Ciarla on the 1st of
July 1514 is of incalculable importance for the light it throws upon
the master's private life and character. It is written by a man flushed
with success, but modest withal--in the full enjoyment of all the gifts
that fortune and his talent and tact have brought to him, but in no way
overbearing or boastful. And through it all sounds a note of cool
calculation--in money matters as well as in the weighing of matrimonial
chances. He states the amount of his fortune, of his salary as
architect of St. Peter's, and of the payments that are to be made to
him for "work in hand." And in the same way he refers to an
"advantageous match" proposed to him by Cardinal Bibbiani, to which he
has already pledged himself, but should it fall to the ground, "I will
fall in with your wishes"--a reference apparently to an eligible
matrimonial candidate in Urbino. Nor are there chances lacking in Rome,
where, indeed, he knows of a pretty girl with a dowry of 3000 gold
crowns! He also mentions with no little pride that he is living in Rome
in his own house.

These remarks about his matrimonial schemes take us to one of the most
interesting and most disputed chapters of Raphael's life--his irregular
attachment to the "Bella Fornarina," the beautiful daughter of a baker
from Siena, which is referred to first by Vasari, and then, in 1665, by
Fabio Chigi, and has been treated as mere invention by many modern
writers. The evidence collected by Signor Rodolfo Lanciani proves,
however, the truth of Vasari's story, and furthermore establishes the
name and ultimate fate of the "Fornarina." According to local
tradition, three houses in Rome are pointed out as the successive
homes of Raphael's _inamorata_; and each of these houses is in close
proximity to the buildings, on the decoration of which the master was
successively employed. The first of these houses in the Via di Sta.
Dorotea is still occupied by a bakery known as "il forno della
Fornarina;" the second is in the Vicolo del Cedro near St. Egidio in
Trastevere; and the third is the Palazzetto Sassi, which has a tablet
let into the wall with an inscription to the effect that "Tradition
says that the one who became so dear to Raphael, and whom he raised to
fame, lived in this house."

It has now been ascertained from a census return made under Leo X. in
1518, that one of the houses of the Sassi family was occupied by the
baker Francesco from Siena, which completely tallies with the tradition
that "Margherita, donna di Raffaello," as she is described in a
contemporary marginal note in a copy of the Giunta edition of Vasari
in 1568, was the daughter of a baker from Siena. But even more decisive
is the proof which was found in 1897 in an entry in the ledger of the
Congregation of Sant'Apollonia in Trastevere, a kind of home for fallen
and repentant women. This entry, which is under the date of the 18th
August 1520, that is a little over four months after Raphael's death,
runs as follows: "A di 18 Augusti 1520 Hoggi e stata recenta nel nostro
Conservatorio ma^a Margarita vedoa, figliola del quondam Francescho
Luti da Siena." ("August 18, 1520.--To-day has been received into our
establishment the widow _Margarita, daughter of the late Francesco Luti
of Siena_.") The remarkable coincidence of dates and names leaves no
doubt that this "widow" was the Bella Fornarina, Margherita, the
daughter of the baker Francesco from Siena, and the beautiful creature
who served Raphael as model for the "Donna Velata," for the "Sistine
Madonna," and for one of the heads in the "St. Cecilia."

The story goes that Raphael's attachment lasted up to the time of his
death, when, on the insistence of the Pope's messenger who was to bring
the dying man the benediction, she was removed from the room. Vasari
also relates that in his will Raphael "left her a sufficient provision
wherewith she might live in decency." His long infatuation with the
baker's daughter may well account for his unwillingness to enter into
the bonds of matrimony even with as desirable and noble a partner as
Cardinal Bernardo Divizio's niece, Maria Bibbiena, to whom he was
practically engaged in 1514, and who after years of postponement is
said to have died of a broken heart. Vasari's statement that Raphael's
hesitation was due to the prospect of a cardinal's hat being bestowed
upon him is utterly untrustworthy and contrary to all precedent and
reason. It is much more likely that Raphael considered it diplomatic to
humour a man in as powerful a position as Cardinal Bibbiena, and to
agree to become engaged to his niece, even though his own position at
the time was such that he could speak on terms of equality to
cardinals, as may be gathered from this witty repartee recorded by his
friend Baldassare Castiglione: Two cardinals, who examined a painting
upon which he was just engaged, found fault with the redness of the
complexion of St. Peter and St. Paul. "My Lords," retorted Raphael, "be
not concerned; because I painted them so with full intention, since we
have reason to believe that St. Peter and St. Paul are as red in Heaven
as you see them here, for shame that their Church should be governed by
such as you!"

But we must return to Raphael's work in the last decade of his life.
He could now no longer devote himself entirely to the art of his
choice, and found it utterly impossible to cope with the multitude of
commissions that were showered upon him by the mighty of this earth,
even though a swarm of assistants were constantly kept at work. The
vain appeals of Isabella d'Este for a small painting from his hand
prove the difficulty of obtaining such a favour. For Raphael was now
the Pope's architect and superintendent of ceremonies, and in 1515 he
was appointed inspector of antiquities in succession to Fra Giocondo of
Verona. He had to paint scenery and to design medals and plans; and on
one occasion he was actually called upon to paint a life-size elephant
on the walls of the Vatican!


(In the Uffizi Gallery, Florence)

Though much "restored" and over-painted--and not by the most competent
hands--the portrait of Raphael in the _Sala dei Pittori_ at the Uffizi,
the Walhalla of pictorial fame, is undoubtedly painted by the master
himself, at the age of about twenty-three, when his features had lost
none of the almost girlish charm and delicacy of which we are told by
contemporary writers. In time the portrait stands midway between
Timoteo Viti's charming drawing of his "apprentice," the boy Raphael,
at the Oxford University Galleries, and Sebastiano del Piombo's
portrait of the "Prince of Painters" at the Buda-Pesth Museum.]

Yet, with all these absorbing occupations he found time to model
several reliefs for the Chigi tomb in the Chigi Chapel of St. Maria
del Popolo, notably a panel of classic design representing "Christ and
the Woman of Samaria," which was cast in bronze by Lorenzotto, who also
executed in marble a statue of Jonah from a model by Raphael. He
furnished the architectural designs of the Villa Madama for Giulio dei
Medici (afterwards Clement VII.) and several other palaces in Rome, and
also for the dainty Palazzo Pandolfini in Florence, where the
alternating arched and triangular pediments are for the first time
introduced in secular Renaissance architecture. He furnished the
engraver Marcantonio Raimondi of Bologna with designs like the famous
"Judgment of Paris." He planned and began an elaborate Cosmography of
Rome; and yet in the midst of all his varied labours he found leisure
to scribble some ardent love sonnets on his sheets of drawings. An
example of his poetic effusions is preserved at the British Museum,
and its ardent tone lends colour to Vasari's assertion that Raphael was
extremely susceptible to the charms of the fair sex. The palace in
which he lived in princely state was built by Bramante and bought by
Raphael on October 7, 1517. In very much altered form it still stands
in the Piazza di Scossacavalli at the corner of the Via di Borgo Nuovo.
Since the present building has been identified as Raphael's palace, his
studio has been discovered, cut into two apartments, but with a
beautiful wooden ceiling by Bramante left intact.

In this studio he must have painted the greatest and most deservedly
popular of his altar-pieces, the "Madonna di San Sisto," and the
"Transfiguration," now at the Vatican Gallery, which was on his easel
when death stayed his hand. Here, too, he probably painted that
masterly portrait of "Baldassare Castiglione," which is one of the
priceless treasures of the Louvre, and perhaps the magnificent group of
"Leo X. with Cardinals Giulio dei Medici and L. dei Rossi," now at the
Pitti Palace. All the most notable men who were in Rome at that period
passed through Raphael's studio, but of the portraits which he is known
to have painted in Rome, comparatively few have come down to us. That
of the humanist Tommaso Inghirami was until recently at the Inghirami
Palace in Volterra, but has now gone across the Atlantic; one of
Cardinal Bibbiena is in Madrid; and one of the Venetian humanists
Navagero and Beazzano in the Doria Palace in Rome. Among the lost
portraits are those of Pietro Bembo, of Giuliano dei Medici, Duke of
Nemours, of Federigo Gonzaga, and of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino.

Meanwhile Raphael's pupils had been busy with the decoration of the
remaining two _Stanze_ of the Vatican after Raphael's designs. In the
Stanza dell'Incendio del Borgo, which was decorated for Leo. X. between
1514-1517, Giulio Romano had painted the "Battle of Ostia" and most of
the "Incendio del Borgo," though parts of the latter, which illustrates
the staying of the great conflagration by Leo IV.'s prayer, are
unquestionably Raphael's own. The last room, called the Hall of
Constantine, was almost entirely painted after the master's death by
his pupils, who also had the chief share in the execution of the
fifty-two scriptural subjects in the Loggia of the Vatican, which are
known as "The Bible of Raphael." Most of this work was done by Perino
del Vaga, while Giovanni da Udine added the arabesques and grotesques
round the panels. But all this has suffered much from exposure to the
elements, and has been entirely repainted.

For Agostino Chigi's Villa Farnesina, Raphael painted the beautiful
"Galatea" fresco, which may be considered the supreme expression of the
spirit of the Renaissance. This merchant prince gave the master another
opportunity for displaying his decorative skill, when he employed him
in adorning the Chigi Chapel in St. Maria della Pace. The Sibyls and
Angels of these frescoes afford the most striking instance of
Michelangelo's influence upon Raphael; and it is a curious coincidence
that it was just in reference to this work that Michelangelo was called
upon to express his opinion as to the fairness of Raphael's charge of
500 ducats. That small jealousy was not one of Buonarroti's faults
appears from the generous valuation of 900 ducats he put upon his
rival's work.

In 1515-1516 Raphael designed the cartoons for the tapestries which
were to complete the decoration of the Sistine Chapel. The cartoons
were translated into the material by the looms of Flanders at a cost
of 34,000 scudi; and these tapestries are now, after many wanderings,
and after having suffered much dilapidation, housed on the upper floor
of the Vatican. Seven of the cartoons, cut into strips for the
exigencies of the loom, were discovered in Flanders by Rubens, and
purchased on his advice by Charles I. in 1630. On the breaking up of
the ill-fated king's collection, they were saved from transportation by
Oliver Cromwell and are now at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The
execution of these cartoons is almost entirely due to Gian Francesco
Penni, and the borders of the tapestries were designed by Giovanni da
Usline. About 1516 Raphael also decorated Cardinal Bibbiena's bathroom
with the "Triumphs of Venus and Cupid," in Pompeian style. The frescoes
are still in existence, but are not accessible to the public.

In the early days of April 1520 Raphael was attacked by a fever which
he had probably contracted in superintending some excavations. He made
his last will on the 4th of April and died on the 6th. That he repented
of his treatment of Maria Bibbiena is fairly evident from the epitaph
which, by his wish, was placed upon her tomb: "We, Baldassare Turini da
Pescia and Gianbattista Branconi dall'Aquila, testamentary executors
and recipients of the last wishes of Raphael, have raised this memorial
to his affianced wife, Maria, daughter of Antonio da Bibbiena, whom
death deprived of a happy marriage." After providing for the Fornarina,
so that she might "live in decency," he left his fortune of 16,000
ducats to his relatives, and his drawings and sketches to his favourite
pupils Giulio Romano and Penni. He was buried in the Pantheon in close
proximity to Maria Bibbiena. His epitaph was written by Cardinal Bembo,
and Count Baldassare Castiglione also put his grief into the shape of
a beautiful sonnet.

"The death of Raphael," says Vasari, "was bitterly deplored by all the
Papal court, not only because he had formed part thereof, since he had
held the office of chamberlain to the Pontiff, but also because Leo X.
had esteemed him so highly, that his loss occasioned that sovereign the
bitterest grief. Oh, most happy and thrice blessed spirit, of whom all
are proud to speak, whose actions are celebrated with praise by all
men, and the least of whose works left behind thee is admired and

The plates are printed by BEMROSE & SONS, LTD., Derby and London

The text at the BALLANTYNE PRESS, Edinburgh

Transcriber's note:

Italics is represented with underscore _ and small caps with ALL CAPS.
Illustrations were moved to paragraph breaks, one missing opening
quotation mark was added and ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines
were retained. The abbreviation "nro" has been expanded to "nostro",
the caret character ^ used to represent superscripted letters.
Everything else has been retained as printed.

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