first of all." The real Raphael must be sought for in his own thought, his studies, the
works which he executed himself. Even in those done by pupils the spiritual significance
of the master's conception often pierces the envelope, and we see him at once powerful
and serene; in the long line of his Madonnas there is no repetition, and no sense of fatigue,
and in his frescos he laid down the lines of monumental composition. The same stu-
dent who has compared Raphael's technique with that oi the modern French master
in ajj f) a cl 27
mav say, for instance, even while admitting their style and character, that the silhou-
ettes of the women in the medallions of the Camera della Signatura are coarse in out-
line, that the construction of their faces will not bear analysis. But when that modern
painter has a medallion to fill and has tried one arrangement after another, he inevitably
realizes that it is Raphael who has found the best ordering that could be found; and the
modern painter builds upon his lines, laid down so distinctly that the greater the prac-
tice of the artist the more complete becomes his realization of Raphael's comprehension
of essentials in composition.
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS . <Â«DISCOURSEV. "
RAPHAEL'S materials are generally borrowed, though the noble structure is his
own. His excellency lay in the propriety, beauty, and majesty ot his characters,
the judicious contrivance of his composition, his correctness of drawing, purity of taste,
and skilful^ accommodation gf_other, men's conceptions to his own purpose. Nobody
excelled him in that judgment with which he united to his own observations on nature
the energy of Michelangelo and the beauty and simplicity of the antique.
BERNHARD BERENSON "CENTRAL ITALIAN PAINTERS OF THE RENAISSANCE"
THERE have been in the last five centuries artists of far greater genius than
Raphael Sanzio. Michelangelo was grander and more powerful, Leonardo at
once more profound and more refined. In Raphael you never get the sweet world's
taste as in Giorgione, nor its full pride and splendor as in Titian and Veronese. And
I am calling up only Italian names â€” how many others, if we chose to cross the Alps!
â€” and it is only as illustrator that he rivals these: for in the more essential matters of
figure-painting Raphael is not for a moment to be ranked on a level with the great
Florentines; nor does he, like the Venetians, indelibly dye the world with resplendent
Ever ready to learn, Raphael passed from influence to influence. At whose feet did
he not sit? Timoteo Viti's, Perugino's, and Pinturicchio's, Michelangelo's, Leonardo's,
and Fra Bartolommeo's, and finally, Sebastiano del Piombo's. From the last named,
Sanzio, then already at the very height of his career and triumph, humbly endeavored
to acquire those potent secrets of magical color which even a second-rate Venetian
could teach him. And although he learned his lesson well, for in this the Umbrians
ever had been distant cousins, as it were, of the Venetians, yet twice only did he attain
to signal achievement in color: the fresco, so splendid as mere painting, which repre-
sents the "Miracle of Bolsena, " and that exquisite study in gray, the "Portrait of
Baldassare Castiglione. " But what are these beside the mural paintings of Veronese,
or the portraits of Titian? At his rarest best, Raphael as a master of color never went
beyond Sebastiano. But he has other claims on our attention â€” he was endowed with
a visual imagination which has never even been rivalled for range, sweep, and sanity.
When it has been surpassed it has been at single points and by artists of more concen-
trated genius. Thus gifted, and coming at a time when form had, for its own sake,
been recovered by the naturalists and the essential artists, when the visual imagery, of
at least the Italian world, had already suffered along certain lines, the transformation
from the mediaeval into what has ever since been for all of us the modern, when the
ideals of the Renaissance were for an ineffable instant standing complete, Raphael,
filtering and rendering lucid and pure all that had passed through him to make him what
he was, set himself the task of dowering the modern world with the images which to
this day, despite the turbulent rebellion and morose succession of recent years, embody
for the great number of cultivated men their spiritual ideals and their spiritual aspira-
tions. . . .
We go to Raphael for the beautiful vesture he has given to the antiquity of our
yearnings; and as long as the world of Greeks and Romans remains for us what I
fervently prav it may continue to be, â€” not only a mere fact, but a longing and a de-
sire, â€” for such a time shall we, as we read the Greek and Latin poets, accompany
them with an imagery either Raphael's own, or based on his; so long shall we see their
world as Raphael saw it, â€” a world where the bird of morning never ceased to sing.
What wonder, then, that Raphael became on the instant, and has ever remained,
the most beloved of artists ! A world which owed all that was noblest and best in it to
classical culture found at last its artist, the illustrator who, embodying antiquity in a
form surpassing its own highest conceptions, satisfied at last its noblest longings. Raphael,
we may say, \Y:as the master artist of the humanists; and the artist of people nurtured
on the classics he remains. . . . He has brought about the extraordinary result that
when we read even the Hebrew classics we read them with an accompaniment of
Hellenic imagery. What a power he has been in modern culture, Hellenizing the onlv
force that could have thwarted it! . . . He has enshrined all the noble tenderness and
human sublimity of Christianity, all the glamour and edifying beautv of the antique
world, in forms so radiant that we ever return to them to renew our inspiration. But
has he not also given us our ideals of beauty.? The Florentines were too great as figure-
artists, the Venetians as masters of color and paint, to care much for that which in art,
as distinguished from illustration, is so unimportant as what in life we call beauty. . . .
And so the type of beauty to which our eyes and desire still return is Raphael's â€”
the type which for four hundred years has fascinated Europe. Not artist enough to be
able to do without beauty, and the heir of the Sienese feelings for loveliness, too power-
fully controlled by Florentine ideals not to be guided somewhat by their restraining and
purifying art, Sanzio produced a type, the composite of Ferrarese, Central Italian, and
Florentine conceptions of female beauty, which, as no other, has struck the happy mean
between the instinctive demands of life and the more conscious requirements of art.
And he was almost as successful in his types of youth or age â€” indeed, none but
Leonardo ever conceived any lovelier or more dignified. Only for manhood was
Raphael perhaps too feeble â€” and yet, I am not sure.
A surprise awaits us. This painter whose temperament we fancy to have been some-
what languid, who presented ideals Hesperidean, idyllic, Virgilian, could, when he
chose, be not only grand in his conceptions, but severe, impassive, and free fi-om any
aim save that of interpreting the object before him. And Raphael's portraits, in truth,
have no superiors as faithful renderings of soul and body. They are truthful even to
literal veracity, perceived in piercing light, yet reconstructed with an energy of intel-
lectual and artistic fusion that places them among the constellations. . . .
But was this, then, all Raphael's merit, â€” that he was a lovable illustrator, the most
lovable that we have ever had? If with the vanishing of that world, offspring of an-
tiquity and the Renaissance, we now live in; with the breaking of that infinite chain of
associations each link of which has the power to make us throb with joy, should an-
other culture ever upspring, and in it people capable of appreciating art, what (if by
miracle his work survived) would they find in Raphael? As an illustrator he would
mean at the utmost no more to them than, as mere illustrators, the great artists of
China and Japan mean to us. He would not embody their ideals nor express their
aspirations, nor be conjuring up to their minds subtly appreciative sensations, feelings,
and dreams, emprisoned, since the glowing years of childhood, in the limbo of their
unconscious selves, and needing the artist to fetch them out to the light. They could
il! a }j I) a c I 29
enjoy him only as we who know nothing or next to nothing of the myths, poetry, or
history of China and Japan yet take pleasure in the art of those countries, â€” as pure
art, independent of all accidents and all circumstances, confined to the divine task of
heightening our vital and mental processes. And as pure art, what supreme distinction
would thev discover in Raphael? Such as were wise enough to continue their quest,
although thev found him lacking in the qualities essendal to the figure-arts, lacking also
in the gifts which make the great craftsman, would end by seeing that he, Raj)hael -^
Sanzio, was the greatest master ot composition â€” whether considered as arrangement or
sgace â€” that Europe down to the end of the nineteenth century had ever produced.
For Raphael was not only the greatest space-composer that we have ever had, but 1 j^ - ^^
the greatest master of composinon in the more usual sense of grouping and arrangement. ]
In the ceiling of the Stanze is a "Judgment of Solomon." Have you ever seen a flat
space better filled, a clearer arrangement and better balance of masses? A kindred effect
you may see in the Farnesina, where concave spherical triangles are so admirably filled
with paintings of the various adventures of Psyche that you think of them as openings
revealing scenes that are passing, never as awkward spaces almost hopelessly difficult to
But hard as it may be to ^fill sp aces like these, it is yet no task beside the difficulty
of treating one group, perhaps one figure only, so that, perfectly dominating the space
at command, it shall not become too abstract and schematic and fixed, but shall suggest
freedom, evoke an environment of air and sunshine. When looking at the "ijtran'
Duca Madonna," has it ever occurred to you to note that the whole of her figure was
not there? So perfect is the arrangement that the attention is entirely absorbed by the
grouping of the heads, the balance of the Virgin's draped arm and the Child's body.
You are not allowed to ask yourself how the figure ends. And observe how it holds its
own, easily poised, in the panel which is just large enough to contain it without crowd-
ing, without suggesting room for aught beside.
But great as is the pleasure in a single group perfectly filling a mere panel, it is far ^ y^
greater when a group dominates a landscape. Raphael tried several times to obtain this \
effect, â€” as in the " Madonna del Cardellino," or the *' Madonna del Prato," â€” but
he attained to supreme success once only â€” in the " Belle Jardiniere." Here you have
the full negation of the plein-air treatment of the figure. The Madonna is under a
domed sky, and she fills it completely, as subtly as in the Gran' Duca panel, but here
it is the whole out-of-doors, the universe, and a human being supereminent over itJ "^
What a scale is suggested! Surely the spiritual relation between man and his environ-
ment is here given in the only way that man â€” unless he become barbarized by decay
or nonhumanized by science â€” will ever feel it. And not what man knows, but what '^
man feels, concerns art. All else is science.
To resume, Raphael was not an artist in the sense that Michelangelo, Leonardo,!
Velasquez, or even Rembrandt was. He was a great illustrator and a great space-com-
poser. But the success he attained was his ruin; for, obliged in the later years of his
brief life to work hastily, superintending a horde of assistants, seldom with leisure for
thought, he felt too pressed to work out his effects either as illustration or as space-
composinon; so that most of his later work lacks the qualities of either of these arts,
over which he was the natural master.
WILHELM LUBKE <Â«HISTORY OF ART"
THE thing that is most worthy of admiration in Raphael is a certain harmonious
combination of all intellectual endowments, such as is but rarely seen even in the
greatest artists. While in other men, even of the first rank, one gift or another pre-
dominates, â€” whether it he the gift of strong characterization, or that of producing the
highest expression of the sublime, â€” in Raphael we find all the individual traits of in-
tellectual hfe incomparably equipoised; and the highest expression of this harmony is
perfect beautv. But this beautv does not consist merely of sensuous loveliness or fasci-
nating grace: it is thoroughly permeated by thought, and strongly characterized. Each
beauteous form noblv and powerfully expresses one or another feeling of the soul, rang-
ing from the tender to the sublime. . . .
Raphael ranks as high in grand symbolic paintings as in bold historical compositions.
He is as great a master in the dignified treatment of Christian subjects as in his gracefial
and animated treatment of ancient mythology; as great in portraiture as he is inexhaustible
and thoughtful in religious painting, properly so called, and especially in Madonnas and
Holy Families. And with all this vast creative activity, he recognized only one self-
imposed limitation, â€” beautv. Hence, though his span of life was short, his works are
imperishable. He steadily progressed: but he was ever true, beautifiil, and pure, and
freer than anv other master from superficiality and mannerism; and he produced a vast
number of works, elevating to men of every race and of every age, and before whose
immortal beautv artists of every school unite in common homage. â€” from the German
BY CLARENCE COOK.
C|)e Wotk^ of 3^ap|)ael
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PLATES
"THE gran' DUCA MADONNA" PITTI PALACE: FLORENCE
IN describing this picture Gruyer says: "Humble, gentle, radiantly beautiful, and
full of grace, the Virgin stands before us looking down upon the Child, whom she
holds on her arm. The red dress is visible only across her breast, for a full blue man-
tle falls from the crown of her head over her shoulders and envelopes the rest of her
figure. A transparent veil mingles with the bands of her blond hair and comes down
over her forehead without detracting from the nobility of her brow. Her features, calm
and serene but not impassive, are of a beauty which even Raphael has seldom sur-
Towards the end of the last century this picture was in the possession of a poor
woman in Florence, who sold it to a dealer for twelve crowns (about twenty dollars).
It was afterwards purchased by the Grand Duke Ferdinand III., who prized it so highly
that he would never be separated fi-om it, but took the picture with him wherever he
went â€” on all his travels and even into exile. Hence it became known as the " Ma-
donna del Gran' Duca," or "del Viaggio " (of the Journey). It is painted on panel,
and is entirely by Raphael's own hand. " It excels," says Kugler, " all his previous
Madonnas in the charm of a profound feeling, and is the last and highest condition of
which Perugino's type was capable." According to Morelli, however, it is more sug-
gestive of Timoteo Viti than of Perugino, not only in the absence of that dreamy, lan-
guishing air characteristic of the later master, but in its flesh tints, which are brighter ^
than Perugino's tone. Eugene Miintz'says : "Jt marks the enfranchisement of theijji^-)^
young master. The modelling has acquired a firmness and surety unknown to the ,
Umbrian school; amber-colored though it is, the coloring has become clear, vivid, and V
brilliant. The type is also singularly different from the types held in esteem in Perugia
and its environs.")
]K a )) I) a e i si
''MARRIAGE OF THE VIRGIN" BRERA GALLERY: MILAN
THE most interesting example of the first period of Raphael's development is the
"Marriage of the Virgin" (Lo Sposalizio), which is inscribed with his name
and the date i 504. " It may be said to mark Raphael's emancipation from pupildom,
his debut as an artist; " writes Gruyer. " As a subject for the picture he took a theme
which had been a favorite subject for over two centuries. Giotto, Fra Angelico, Ghir-
landajo, Perugino, â€” all the greatest of his predecessors, â€” had repeatedly depicted the
marriage of the Virgin, and beautiful as some of their versions were, it remained for the
voung Raphael to say the last word, to treat the subject finally, definitively, and for all
It has heretofore been believed that in this composition Raphael had closely followed,
though he had greatly improved upon, a very similar picture by his master Perugino,
now in the Caen Museum; but recently Mr. Bernhard Berenson has cast grave doubts
upon Perugino's authorship of the Caen picture, believing it not to be by Perugino at
all, but by Lo Spagna; and that thus, s far from being the prototype of Raphael's
<* Sposalizio," it postdates and imitates the latter picture.
In his treatment of the subject Raphael followed 'the accepted legend, in which it is
related that there were so many competitors for the Virgin's hand that the High Priest
ordered everv unmarried man of the house of David to lay a dry rod on the altar, and
declared that he whose rod should give forth buds should be the husband of Mary.
Among the rivals w^as Joseph, an elderly man and a widower, who already had sons
and grandsons. His rod alone budded, and as it did so a dove descended from heaven
and lighted upon it. Among the Jews marriage was a civil contract rather than a relig-
ious ceremony; this explains why the espousals are represented as taking place in the
open air outside the temple. In Raphael's picture, the Virgin is attended by five young
women, St. Joseph by five young men. The latter are some of the rejected suitors; and
one in the foreground breaks his rod, which has failed to blossom.
" In this work," writes JuHa Cartwright, "the superiority of Raphael's art to that
of his master Perugino was manifest; and when he wrote 'Raphael Vrbinas, mdiiii '
on the cornice of the temple in this picture he must have felt that he had nothing more
to learn from Perugino."
THE " Madonna of the Chair," which derives its name from the chair (sedia) in
which the Virgin is seated, was painted about i 516.
*' No picture of Raphael's," writes Professor Anton Springer, " is so universally pop-
ular; no work of modern art is so well known. The studies for this painting show that
its origin was contemporaneous with that of the * Madonna of the House of Alba.' In
character also the two are related, and in both Florentine influence is perceptible. The
' Madonna of the Chair ' is expressive of the tenderest union of mother and child, glo-
rifving, as do so many of the Florentine Madonnas, the joy and blessedness of young
motherhood; but instead of -a light and tender coloring, its broad manner stamps it as
Roman rather than Florentine. The Madonna is seated in a chair, her arms encircling
the Child, who nestles close to her, tenderly pressing his little face to hers. Both look
out from the picture â€” the Mother quietly happv, the Child content to be safely shel-
tered in the protecting arms. Close beside the group stands the little St. John with his
reed cross, gazing up lovinglv and devoutly, with folded hands, at his companion."
" The ' Madonna of the Chair,' " write Crowe and Cavalcaselle, " proclaims Ra-
phael a colorist akin to the Venetians in the glow of its flesh and the crystal purity and
brightness of its pigments."
"PORTRAIT OF POPE LEO X." PITTI PALACE: FLORENCE
RAPHAEL'S greatest achievement in portraiture, and one of the greatest portraits
in the world, is this picture of Leo X. between two cardinals, which he painted
in Rome between I 51 7 and 15 19. Giuli Romano, by his own statement, executed
some of the draperies, but all the more important parts ot the picture are by Raphael's
own hand. It shows us the Pope who "from the universality of his knowledge and
the delicate refinement of his taste was acknowledged to be the supreme patron of arts
in the sixteenth century" clad in a robe of white satin embroidered with gold, over
which he wears a cape of purple velvet bordered with ermine. Seated at a table, he
holds a reading-glass in one hand, and with the other turns the pages of an illuminated
breviarv. Behind him stand two cardinals, his nearest relations; on the right his cousin
Giulio de' Medici (afterwards Pope Clement VIL), and on the left his nephew Lo-
dovico de' Rossi. The likeness of Leo bears out the contemporary accounts of him, as
the cultured, pleasure-loving man, kindlv and good-natured as a rule, but hard and
crafty in his dealings with others, and vindictive and unscrupulous when his own inter-
ests were at stake.
" Filled with gratitude to his powerful protector," writes Passavant, " Raphael has
almost surpassed himself in this work, which in every respect occupies a unique place
in art. Grandeur, truth, style, coloring, execution, all are carried to the highest possi-
ble perfection in it." Messrs. Woltmann and Woermann consider that "Raphael can
here bear comparison with any portrait-painter the world has produced; typical charac-
teristics are grasped and recorded with truth and dignity; texture and detail are equally
masterly, and the portrait-group is at the same time a richly colored composition and a
miracle of tone in the treatment of the flesh in contrast with the mass of red drapery."
" Vasari has noted," write the editors of his ** Lives," ** the expression of surface
texture in the brocade, metal, etc., and his admiration is not to be wondered at, for
texture as shown by brush-handling had hardly been attempted up to this time in Tus-
can art. Again, the working out of a scale of one color is novel to the time, and as
always, when it is skilfully managed, is impressive. Here the scale is of red, scarlet,
crimson, purple, brown, the only opposition being the white brocade."
"The portraits of Titian and Giorgione may surpass this in color," says Perkins,
" those of Holbein in minute rendering of detail, and those of Rubens in freedom of
touch; but as combining fine color, admirable drawing, truth to character, and high
finish, it ranks above them all."
"MADONNA OFTHE HOUSE OF ALBA" THE HERMITAGE: ST. PETERSBURG
THIS picture, which, as Kugler savs, was "executed in Raphael's best and most
delicate style by the master's own hand," is said to have been painted for Julius
II. soon after Raphael's arrival in Rome (1508). It afterwards passed into the pos-
session of the Duke of Alba' s familv in Madrid, whence its name. It is well preserved,
despite the fact that the landscape was at one time completely painted over; for the
colors of the new coating were so thick that they were removed without spoiling the
original surface. "It is," write Messrs. Crowe and Cavalcaselle, "an example of
Raphael's most careful work, injured no doubt by abrasion and restoration, yet still in
parts exquisite in finish and delicacy of modelling."
*< Both in shape and composition," writes Julia Cartwright, "this Virgin closely re-
sembles the later Florentine Madonnas. Mary holds a book in her hand, and is seated
in a meadow full of violets and wild flowers, leaning against the trunk of a gnarled oak-
tree. The boy-Baptist kneeling on the grass with the cross in his hand, and the Christ
Jt a p t) a c I 3 3
clinging to his mother's side, recall the children of the Cardellino, but the Virgin's
antique costume and finely draped robes bear witness to the painter's Roman studies,
and in the background the Tiber is seen winding through the distant Campagna. Two
drawings for this Madonna are in the Lille Museum, and on the same sheet is a sketch
for another round panel, the ' Madonna of the Chair.' "
"MADONNA OF FOLIGNO" VATICAN GALLERY: ROME
"' I ^HE * Madonna of Foligno,' " writes Julia Cartwright, "was executed by
X Raphael for the papal chamberlain, Sigismond Conti, shortly before that prel-
ate's death, in 15 12. A native of Foligno, the aged bishop wished to commemorate
his deliverance from a shell that had exploded near him during the bombardment of
that citv. At his bidding Raphael painted the great altar-piece which for fifty years
adorned the Franciscan church of Ara Coeli, and was then removed to Foligno. After