четверг, 12 февраля 2009 г.

Postcard from Germany



The Triumph of Galatea (Fragment), Raphael


Raphael Sanzio, usually known by his first name alone (in Italian Raffaello; April 6 or March 28, 1483 – April 6, 1520) was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings and drawings. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and, despite his early death at thirty-seven, a large body of his work remains, especially in the Vatican, whose frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career, although unfinished at his death. After his early years in Rome, much of his work was designed by him and executed largely by the workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models.

His career falls naturally into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria, then a period of about four years (from 1504-1508) absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates.

The Triumph of Galatea
Raphael, 1512
Fresco
295 × 224 cm
Villa Farnesina, Rome



The Triumph of Galatea is a fresco masterpiece completed in 1512 by the Italian painter Raphael for the Villa Farnesina in Rome.

The Farnesina was built for the Sienese banker Agostino Chigi, one of the richest men of that age. The Farnese family later acquired and renamed the villa, smaller than the more ostentatious palazzo at the other side of the Tiber. The fresco is a mythological scene of a series embellishing the open gallery of the building, a series never completed which was inspired to the "Stanze per la giostra" of the poet Angelo Poliziano. In Greek mythology, the beautiful Nereid Galatea had fallen in love with the peasant shepherd Acis. Her consort, one-eyed giant, Polyphemus, after chancing upon the two lovers together, lobbed an enormous pillar and killed Acis.

Raphael did not paint any of the main events of the story. He chose the scene of the nymph's apotheosis (Stanze, I, 118-119). Galatea appears surrounded by other sea creatures whose forms are somewhat inspired by Michelangelo, whereas the bright colors and decoration are supposed to be inspired by ancient Roman painting. At the left, a Triton (partly man, partly fish) abducts a sea nymph; behind them, another Triton uses a shell as a trumpet. Galatea rides a shell-chariot drawn by two dolphins.

While some have seen in the model for Galatea the image of the courtesan, Imperia, Agostino Chigi's lover, Rafael's near-contemporary, the artist and art biographer Giorgio Vasari, wrote that Raphael did not mean for Galatea to resemble any one human person, but to represent ideal beauty. Her gaze is directed upward to heaven, reflecting Platonic love.

Raphael
Galatea

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