642! CHAPTER 22 Renaissance and Mannerism in Cinquecento Italy
“Early Christian Saints,” pages 246–247). According to the Golden Leg- end (a 13th-century collection of stories about the lives of the saints), Joseph competed with other suitors for Mary’s hand. !e high priest was to give the Virgin to whichever suitor presented to him a rod that had miraculously bloomed. Raphael depicted Joseph with his “ower- ing rod in his le# hand. In his right hand, Joseph holds the wedding ring he is about to place on Mary’s $nger. Other virgins congregate at the le#, and the unsuccessful suitors stand on the right. One of them breaks his rod in half over his knee in frustration, giving Raphael an opportunity to demonstrate his mastery of foreshortening. !e per- spective system he used is the one developed by Brunelleschi (see “Linear Perspective,” page 599) and employed by most Quattrocento artists. (Raphael’s Marriage of the Virgin reveals the young painter’s debt especially to Perugino; compare fig. 21-41.) !e temple in the background is Raphael’s version of a centrally planned building, featuring Brunelleschian arcades (figs. 21-30 and 21-31).
Madonna in the Meadow. Raphael spent the four years from 1504 to 1508 in Florence. !ere, still in his early 20s, he discov- ered that Perugino’s painting style was already outmoded (as was
Brunelleschi’s Early Renaissance architectural style). Flo- rentine crowds “ocked to the church of Santissima Annun- ziata (Holy Annunciation) to see Leonardo’s recently unveiled cartoon of the Virgin, Christ Child, Saint Anne, and Saint John (probably an earlier version of fig. 22-3). Under Leonardo’s in”uence, Raphael began to modify the Madonna compositions he had employed in Umbria. In Madonna in the Meadow (fig. 22-8) of 1505–1506, Raphael adopted Leonardo’s pyramidal composition and model- ing of faces and $gures in subtle chiaroscuro. Yet Raphael placed the large, substantial $gures in a Peruginesque landscape, with the Umbrian master’s typical feathery trees in the middle ground. Although Raphael experimented with Leonardo’s dusky modeling, he tended to return to Perugino’s lighter tonalities and blue skies. Raphael pre- ferred clarity to obscurity, not fascinated, as Leonardo was, with mystery. Raphael quickly achieved fame for his Madonnas, which, like Leonardo’s (figs. 22-2 and 22-3), depict Mary as a beautiful young mother tenderly interacting with her young son. In Madonna of the Meadow, Mary almost wistfully watches Jesus play with John the Baptist’s cross-shaped sta), as if she has a premonition of how her son will die. Works by Raphael and Leonardo would deeply in”uence the next generation of artists, in particular, the slightly younger Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530), whose most famous painting is Madonna of the Harpies (fig. 22-8A).
School of Athens. !ree years a#er completing Madonna in the Meadow, Raphael received one of the most important painting commissions that Julius II awarded— the decoration of the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican (maps 22-1 and 24-1). Of the suite’s several rooms (stanze), Raphael painted the room that came to be called the Stanza della Segnatura (Room of the
Signature—Julius’s papal library, where later popes signed o4cial documents) and the Stanza d’Eliodoro (Room of Heliodorus—the pope’s private audience room, named for one of the paintings there). His pupils completed the others, following his sketches. On the four walls of the Stanza della Segnatura, Raphael presented images sym- bolizing the four branches of human knowledge and wisdom under the headings !eology, Law (Justice), Poetry, and Philosophy—the learning required of a Renaissance pope. Given Julius II’s desire for recognition as both a spiritual and temporal leader, the !eology and Philosophy frescoes face each other. !e two images present a balanced picture of the pope—as a cultured, knowledgeable indi- vidual and as a wise, divinely ordained religious authority.
In Raphael’s Philosophy mural (commonly called School of Ath- ens, fig. 22-9), the setting is not a “school” but a congregation of the great philosophers and scientists of the ancient world. Raphael depicted these famous wise men, revered by Renaissance human- ists, conversing and explaining their various theories and ideas. !e setting is a vast hall covered by massive vaults that recall ancient Roman architecture, especially the much-admired co)ered barrel vaults of the Basilica Nova (fig. 7-74). Colossal statues of Apollo
22-8 Raphael, Madonna in the Meadow, 1505–1506. Oil on wood, 39 8 120 × 29 10 140. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Emulating Leonardo’s pyramidal composition (FIG. 22-2) but rejecting his dusky model- ing and mystery, Raphael set his Madonna in a well-lit landscape and imbued her with grace, dignity, and beauty.
22-8A ANDREA DEL SARTO, Madonna of the Harpies, 1517.