The Italian painter Raffaello Santi, from Urbino, may justly be included, together with Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, in the great artistic triumvirate of the early 16th century. Raphael did not have the enormous knowledge of Leonardo or the intensity that characterizes the work of Michelangelo. Unlike those tough characters, his own character was gentle and affable and this ensured the broad sociability and big favor in the circles of scholars and officials.
Younger than the other two, he was a disciple of the famous painter from Perugia, Pietro Vannucci known as Perugino (1446-1523). Raphael’s work demonstrates his excellent knowledge of design, but what distinguishes it admittedly, is the feeling of perfect harmony in the composition. Unlike the artists of the early Renaissance, he found a way to arrange a set of freely moving forms in space, without the image losing of its harmonious composition. Another characteristic of his work is the beauty of the figures illustrating the result perhaps of the sensitive temperament, which tended to idealization.
In the production of Raphael, that was limited by the fact of premature death at the age of thirty years, although included exquisite paintings with mythological scenes, such as the «Nymph Galatea», his most notable works were of religious themes and had as their subject the illustration of Madonna. Raphael’s vision of the Virgin Mary, as Gombrich noted, it was adopted by future generations in the same way Michelangelo’s concept for God-Father was adopted.
Is the evolution, with new terms of that ancient natural pattern of the goddess-mother, we find in ancient Egypt in the form of Isis and young Horus which “passed” in to Christianity. Raphael gave this holy form, as the perfect model of motherhood in the art of the West.
However, Raphael was far away from the faithful imitation of nature, as pursued by the artists of the 15th century. The direction of Raphael was reversed from that of the classical era, where the ideal of beauty, had been slowly created through the stylization of the best forms of nature. The nature itself was the model of the ancient artist, while in the case of Raphael, was its idealized concept. In fact, he had overcome his nature in an effort to bring it closer to the idea of beauty, which he had formed by studying classical art. This subjective idealization explains the fact that the figures of his paintings are not inspired by real people, but a fantastic type of beauty that had inspired him.
This article is for www.leedscanvas.com