Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/921

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904
RAPHAEL sANzio


walls with paintings in the more developed but less truly decorative style of Raphael. It was not without regret that Raphael saw the destruction of this noble series of frescoes. One vault, that of the Stanza dell' Incendio, painted by his master Perugino, he saved from obliteration; it still exists, well preserved, a most skilful piece of decorative work; and he also set his pupils to copy a number of portrait-heads in the frescoes of Piero della Francesca before they were destroyed? Fig. 3 shows the positions of Raphael's frescoes in the stanze, which, both from their size and method of lighting, are very unsuited for the reception of these large pictures. The two most important rooms (A and B) are small, and have an awkward cross light from opposite windows?

Stanza della Segnatura (papal signature room), painted in 1509-11 (A on fig. 3). The first painting executed by Raphael in the stanze was the so-called Disputa, finished in 1509. It is very unlike the later ones in style, showing the beginning of transition from his Florentine to his “ Roman manner ”; as a decorative work it is very superior to the other frescoes; the figures are much smaller in scale, as was suited to the very moderate size of the room, and the whole is arranged mainly on one plane, without those strong effects of perspective which are so unsuited to the decorative treatment of a wall-surface. In its religious sentiment, too, it far excels any of the later stanze paintings, retaining much of the sacred character of earlier Florentine and Umbrian art. As a scheme of decoration it appears to have been suggested by some of the early apsidal mosaics. Fig. 4 shows the disposition of its main masses, which seem to indicate the curved recess

of an apse. Gold is largely used,

V . with much richness of effect, while

" ' ' the later purely pictorial frescoes have “- . i, little or none. The subject of this I -~, ~ " magnificent painting is the hierarchy " of the church on earth and its glory

H j F:., ., in heaven? The angels in the upper tier and the nude cherubs who carry

5. 2, the books of the Gospels are among the 51 ' ' " "" most beautiful hgures that Raphael ever painted.

The painting on the vault of this

room is the next in date, and shows

further transition towards the “ Roman

manner." In his treatment of the whole

Raphael has, with much advantage, been

partly guided by the painting of Perugino's vault in the next room (C). Though not without faults, it is a very skilful piece of decoration; the pictures are kept subordinate to the lines of the vault, and their small scale adds greatly to the apparent size of the whole. A great part of the ground is gilt, marked with mosaic-like squares a common practice with decorative painters-not intended to deceive the eye, but simply to give a softer texture to the gilt surface by breaking up its otherwise monotonous glare. The principal medallions in each cell of this quadripartite vault are very graceful female figures, representing Theology, Science, Justice, and Poetry. Smaller subjects, some almost miniature-like in scale, are arranged in the intermediate spaces, and each has some special meaning in reference to the medallion it adjoins; some of these are painted in warm monochrome to suggest bas-reliefs. The hne painting of the “ Flaying of Marsyas " is interesting as showing Raphael's study of antique sculpture: the figure of Marsyas is a copy of a Roman statue, of which several replicas exist. The very beautiful little picture of the “ Temptation of Eve ” recalls Albert Dürer's treatment of that subject, though only vaguely. Much mutual admiration existed between Raphael and Dilrer: in 1515 Raphael sent the German artist a most masterly life study of two nude male fi ures (now at Vienna); on it is written in Albert Dürer's beautiful irand the date and a record of its being a gift from Raphael. It is executed in red chalk, and was a study for two figures in the “ Battle of Ostia " (see below).

On the wall opposite the Disputa is the so-called School of Athens! I

FIG. 4-Diagram to show

main lines of the Disputa,

suggesting an apse,

with mosaic decoration.

How fine these rtrait-heads probably were may be guessed from Piero's magnifi)<;nt frescoes at Arezzo, in the retro-choir of S. Francesco.

2 See Brunn, Die Composition der Wandgemdlde Raphaels im Vatican (Berlin), and Gruyer, Lesfresques de Raphaél au Vatican (Paris, 1859). " It need hardly be said that the name Disputa is a misnomer; there could be no dispute among the saints and doctors of the church about so well-established a dogma as the real presence: the monstrance with the Host below and the figure of Christ above indicate His double presence both on earth and in heaven. Dr Braun, Springer, and Hagen have published monographs in German on this painting.

See Trendelenburg, Uber Rafazfs Schulz von Athen (Berlin, 1843), and Richter (same title) (Heidelberg, 1882); the title “School of Athens " is comparatively modern.

In this and the succeeding frescoes all notion of decorative treatment is thrown aside, and Raphael has simply painted a magnificent series of paintings, treated as easel pictures might have been, with but little reference to their architectural surroundings.” The subject of this noble fresco, in contrast to that opposite, is “ Earthly Knowledge, ” represented by an assembly of the great philosophers, poets and men of science of ancient Greece. The central figures are Plato and Aristotle, while below and on each side are groups arranged with the most consummate skill, including the Whole “ filosofica famiglia " of Dante (lnfer. iv. 133-144), and a number of other leaders of thought, selected in a way that shows no slight acquaintance with the history of philosophy and science among the ancient Greeks. Many interesting portraits are introduced-Bramante as the aged Archimedes, stooping over a geometrical diagram; a beautiful, fair-haired youth on the left is Francesco Maria della Rovere, duke of Urbino; and on the extreme right figures of Raphael himself and Sodoma are introduced (see fig. 5, below). The stately building in which these groups are arranged is taken with modifications from Bramante's first design for St Peter's. Over the window (No. 6 on fig. 3) is a roup of poets and musicians on Mount Parnassus, round a central figure of Apollo; it contains many heads of great beauty and fine portraits of Dante and Petrarch. The former, as a theologian, appears also in the Disputa. Over the opposite window (No. 5) are graceful figures of the three chief Virtues, and at one side (No.) Gregory IX. (a portrait of Julius II.) presenting his volume of decretals to a jurist; beside him is a splendid portrait of Cardinal de' Medici (afterwards Leo X.) before his face was spoiled by getting too stout. This painting shows the influence of Melozzo da Forli.° On the other side Justinian presents his code to Trebonianus (No. 3) § this is inferior in execution, and appears to have been chiefly painted by pupils. The next room (B), called La Stanza d'Eliodoro, was painted in 1511-I4;' it is so called from the fresco (No. 7 in fig. 3) representing the expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple (2 Macc. iii.), an allusion to the struggles between Louis XII. of France and Julius II. The whole spirit of the subjects in this room is less broad and tolerant than in the first: no pagan ideas are admitted, and its chief motive is the glorification of the pontihcate, with insistence on the temporal power. The main incident of this picture is the least successful part of it: the angel visitant on the horse is wanting in dignity, and the animal is poorly drawn, as is also the case with the horses of Attila's army in the fresco opposite. The group of women and children on the left is, however, very beautiful, and the figures of Julius Il. and his attendants are most nobly designed and painted with great vigour. The tall standing figure of Marc Antonio Raimondi, as one of the pope's bearers, is a marvellous piece of portrait-painting, as is also the next figure who bears is name on a scroll-I0 . PETRO . DE . FOLIARIIS .CREMON§ N. Behind, Giulio Romano is represented as another papal attendant. This picture was completed in 1512. Over the window (No. 8) is the scene of the Miracle at Bolsena'0f 1264, when the real presence was proved to a doubting priest by the appearance of blood-stains on the Corporal (see ORVIETO). Julius II. is introduced kneeling behind the altar; and the lower spaces on each side of the windows are filled with two groups, that on the left with women, that on the right with officers of the papal guard. The last group is one of the most masterly of all throughout the stanze: each face, a careful ortrait, is a marvel of expression and power, and the technical) skill with which the whole is painted to the- utmost degree of finish, almost without any tem era touches, is most wonderful. The next fresco in date (No. Iog is that of the Repulsion of Attila from the walls of Rome by Leo I., miraculously aided by the apparitions of St Peter and St Paul; it contains another allusion to the papal quarrels with France. It was begun in the lifetime of Julius II., but was only half-finished at the time of his death in 1513; thus it happens that the portrait of his successor, the Medici pope Leo X., appears twice over, frrst as a cardinal riding behind the pope, painted before the death of Julius II., and again in the character of S. Leo, instead of the portrait of Julius which Raphael was about to paint.” Attila with his savage-looking He has shown great skill in the way in which he has Htted his end frescoes into the awkward spaces cut into by the windows, but they are none the less treated in a purely pictorial manner. 6 Compare his fresco of Sixtus IV., now in the picture-gallery of the Vatican.

The vault of this room is painted with scenes from the Old Testament on a harsh blue ground, much restored; they are probably the work of Giulio Romano, and in a decorative way are very unsuccessful-a striking contrast to the beautiful vaults of Perugino and Raphael in rooms C and A. The deep blue grounds so much used by Raphael's school are very liable to injury from damp, and in most cases have been coarsely restored. Those in the Villa Madama are untouched, and in parts the damp has changed the ultramarine into emerald green.

5 A pen sketch in the Louvre by Raphael shows Julius II. in the place afterwards occupied by Leo X.; another difference in this sléetph is that the pope is borne in a chair, not on horseback as in t e resco.

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