Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/922

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905
RAPHAEL SANZIO


army is not the most successful part of the fresco: the horses are very wooden in appearance, and the tight-fitting scale armour, put on in some impossible way without any joints, gives a very unreal and theatrical look to the picture. Part is the work of pupils. In ISI4 he painted the “ Deliverance of St Peter from Prison, " with a further political allusion (No. 9). It is very skilfully arranged to fit in the awkwar'l space round the window, and is remarkable for an attempt, not much suited for fresco-painting, to combine and contrast the three different qualities of light coming from the moon, the glory round the angel, and the torches of the sentinels. For room C Raphael designed and partly painted the “ lncendio del Borgo " (No. 11), a fire in the Borgo or Leonine City, which was miraculously stopped by Leo IV. appearing and making the sign of the cross at a window in the Vatican. On the background is shown the facade of the old basilica of St Peter, not yet destroyed when this fresco was painted. One group on the left, in the foreground, is remarkable for its vigour and powerful drawing; the motive is taken from the burning of Troy; a fine nude figure of /Eneas issues from the burning houses bearing on l;is back the old Anchises and leading the boy Ascanius by the hand. Some of the female figures are designed with much grace and dramatic power. Many studies for this picture exist. This is the last of the stanze frescoes on which Raphael himself worked. Others designed by him and painted by Giulio Romano, Gianfrancesco Penni, and other pupils were the “ Battle of Ostia " (No. 12), a very nobly composed picture, and the “ Oath of Leo III. before Charlemagne " (No. 14). The other great picture in this room (NO. I3), the “ Coronation of Charlemagne " (a portrait of Francis I. of France), is so very inferior in composition that it is difficult to believe that Raphael even made a sketch for it. The enormous fresco of the “ Defeat of Maxentius by Constantine ” (room D, No. 17) was painted by Giulio Romano, soon after Raphael's death, from a sketch by the latter; it is even more harsh and disagreeable in colour than most of Giulio Romano's early frescoes? Among the other very inferior frescoes in this great hall are two female hgures (Nos. 15 and 16) representing Comitas and justitia, painted on the wall in oil colours, very harmonious and rich in tone; they are usually, though wrongly, attributed to Raphael himself.

Technical Illethods employed in Raphael's Frercoes.-Having made many studies, both nude and draped, for single figures and groups, the painter made a small drawing of the whole composition, which was enlarged by his pupils with the help of numbered squares, drawn 'all over it, to the full size re uired,2 on paper or canvas. Holes were then pricked along the ouflines of the cartoon, and the design pounced through on to an undercoat of dry stucco on the wall, with pounded charcoal and a stiff brush. Over this, early in the morning, a patch of wet stucco was laid, about enough to serve for the day's painting; this of course obliterated the outline on the wall, and the part covered by the patch was again sketched in by freehand, with a point on the wet stucco, so as to be a guide for the outline traced with the brush and the subsequent painting. A line impressed on the wet stucco was easily smoothed out, but a touch of the brush full of pigment sank deeply into the moist stucco, and could not easily be effaced. It will thus be seen that in fresco painting the only use of pouncing the whole design on to the wall was to keep the general positions of the figures right, and was no guide as to the drawing of each separate part. Fig. 5 shows the portrait-heads of himself and Perugino (?), at the extreme right of the School of Athens; on this are visible many of the impressed sketch-lines, and also part of the “fresco edge " of the patch on which this part is painted. The heads in this figure are ess than one day's work. It will be seen that there is no attempt at any accuracy of drawing in the impressed lines. Raphael, especially in his later frescoes, worked with wonderful rapidity: three life-sized busts, or half a full-length figure, more than life-size, was a not unusual day's work. In some of the frescoes the edges of each day's patch of stucco can easily be traced, especially in the lncendio del Borgo, which has a strong side light. In the Disputa much use was made of tempera in the final touches, but less was used in the subsequent frescoes, owing to his increasing mastery of the difficulties of the process.

The paintings in the stanze were only a small part of Raphael's work between 1509 and 1513. To this period belong the Madonna of Foligno (Vatican), painted in ISII for Sigismondo Conti; it is one of his most beautiful compositions, full of the utmost grace and sweetness of expression, and appears to be wholly the work of his hand. It has suffered much from repainting. Of about the same date are the gem-like Garvagh Madonna (National Gallery, bought for £QOOO; once in the possession of the Aldobrandini family), the Diademed Virgin 1 See Montagnani, Sala di Costantino (Rome, 1834). Though he was never a good colourist, the great frescoes by Giulio Romano in the Palazzo del Te, Mantua, show some improvement as compared with his Roman work.

These three stages were usually distinguished as study, sketch and cartoon.

of the Louvre, and the Madonna del Pesce at Madrid. The last is avery noble picture but the design is more pleasing than the

FIG. 5.—Heads of Raphael and Perugino (P), from the School of Athens, showing incised lines and “ fresco edges." colour, which, like other paintings of Raphael's at Madrid, suggests the inferior touch of a pupil; it was executed in 1513 for S. Domenico in Naples. In addition to other easel pictures a number of his finest portraits belong to this period, -that of Julius II. (Uffizi), “ of which a good replica or contemporary copy exists in the National Gallery, the so-called Fornarina in the Palazzo Barberini, the Baldassare Castiglione of the Louvre, and the unfinished portrait of Federigo Gonzaga of Mantua.

When Giovanni de' Medici, at the age of thirty-eight, became pope as Leo X., a period of the most glowing splendour and reckless magnificence succeeded the sterner rule of Julius II. Agostino Chigi, the Sienese financier, was the chief of those whose lavish expenditure contributed to enrich Rome with countless works of art. For him Raphael painted, in 1513-14, the very beautiful fresco of the Triumph of Galatea in his new palace by the Tiber bank, the Villa Farnesina, and also made a large series of magnificent designs from Apuleius's romance of Cupid and Psyche, which were carried out by a. number of his pupils.4 These cover the vault and lunettes of a. large loggia (now closed in for protection); in colouring they are mostly harsh and gaudy, ” as is usually the case with the works of his pupils, a great contrast to the fresco of the Galatea, the greater part of which is certainly the master's own work? For the same patron he painted (also in 1513) his celebrated Sibyls 3 A very fine ancient copy of this portrait is in the Pitti Palace; certain peculiarities in its execution show it to be by some Venetian R/sfinter, as was pointed out to Professor Middleton by Mr Fairfax urray.,

4 Chiefly by Giulio Romano, Gianfrancesco Penni and Giovanni da Udine; much injury has been done to these frescoes by repainting, especially in the coarse blue of the ground.

5 These and other frescoes by his pupils are much disfigured by the disagreeable hot tone of the flesh, very unlike the pearly tone of the flesh of Galatea.

9 Dorigny, Psychis el Amorisfabula a Raphaele, éfc. (Rome, 1693); and Gruner, Fresco Decorations in Italy (London, 1854), pls. 16-18. The group of the Triton and Nymph on the left of the composition was probably executed by Giulio Romano.