6: The High Renaissance
A vigorous Papacy, keen to patronize art, made Rome the chief centre of classicism in the first two decades of the sixteenth century. The historic and even organic conjunction of Rome and classicism ensured that artists were attracted there from all over Italy. The ambitious schemes that were centred around the building of new St Peter's, the refurbishment and extension of the Vatican Palace, the increase in church building and renovation and particularly in commissions for the building and decorating of private palaces and villas made Rome the target of every artist who wished to learn and profit by the new monumentality. There never was, however, any one 'High Renaissance style', but a variety of manners which had certain qualities in common. All artists respected Antiquity, and wished to see the new Rome bear some relation to such an inspiring past. All adopted a simpler and clearer style than any of those current in late Quattrocento Florence, for example, while the pretensions to grandeur and to correct archaeological knowledge were greater in the setting of Rome and her ancient monuments. All these elements conspired to motivate artists to produce works of art and architecture of high idealism and intellectuality, and on a scale (not merely of a size) greater than anything hitherto attempted. Vasari, who breaks the Renaissance into three sections, from Nicola Pisano to c. 1400, then the Quattrocento, then the Cin-quecento (which he almost, but not quite, marks as 'good', 'better' and 'best'), sees previous ages as preparing for what we call the High Renaissance, which then transformed earlier styles into something new. What he calls the 'dry, hard, trenchant manner' of the Quattrocento was, he claims, transformed by the innovations of Leonardo da Vinci, who inaugurated the 'third manner'.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo, according to Vasari, could make figures 'with correctness, improved order, right measure, perfect drawing and a godlike grace'. These qualities and the contrast they make with the 'dry' (i.e. sculptural) manner can be seen in a very early work, the left-hand angel which Leonardo painted in Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ (c. 1475, Florence, Uffizi). His master's figures are flat and tough, with a nervosity derived from Castagno: they are a frieze, set against a landscape with no depth. Leonardo's figure, on the other hand, seems alive. The supple body, the tilt of the head, the formation and colouring of the flesh and drapery (not to mention the landscape) are more richly powerful than Verrocchio's forms. With such exuberant life, such bulky drapery (studied from clay figures covered in stiffened cloth, says Vasari), and such subtle colouring, Leonardo's angel exudes a new authority, a new ideal for the human body. The first great painting for which he was totally responsible, The Adoration of the Magi (commissioned 1481, never finished; Florence, Uffizi), introduces another great gift from which the High Renaissance could benefit: his ability to design a simple yet strongly constructed composition. Leonardo was a scientist as well as an artist, and it is possible that his concern with mechanical equilibrium of forces prompted similar experiments in art. Structural mechanics also exercised him in his architectural studies.
Two early composition drawings for The Adoration of the Magi show the composition
Leonardo da Vinci: Adoration of the Magi. Florence, Uffizi. 'It is one of the ironies of art history that the Adoration, the most revolutionary and anti-classical picture of the fifteenth century, should have helped to furnish that temple of academic orthodoxy, Raphael's Stanza della Segnatura.'39*
built up on the traditional perspective grid, with steps in the foreground which, as it were, set the figures in a grander world than ours. In the painting, the figures articulate their own space because of the strength of the pyramid in which the main group is arranged. The Virgin and Child form its apex, the worshipping kings its base. The triangle affirms a psychological as well as a physical relationship, an electric flow of meaning induced by a glance, a gesture or a fall of drapery within its field of influence. Masaccio had used an open circle in The Tribute Money, but his figures lacked those attributes of characterization and human vitality which Leonardo's techniques permitted. Leonardo's figures are of every age and type, from the beauty of youth to the craggy decrepitude of old age, from the Masacciesque philosopher on the left to the Donatellian knight on the right. They are presented as types, as an ideal gallery of the human body and the human soul. 'A good painter', he wrote, 'has two chief objects to paint, man and the intention of his soul; the former is easy, the latter hard, for he has to represent it by the attitudes and movements of the limbs.'404
The Adoration of the Magi is the first document of the High Renaissance manner, but it is a painting with quite different qualities as well. Leonardo's discovery of how to model features in light, his sfumato, which regulates colouring in subtle stages,405 can prompt the dreamy vagueness and twilight poetry of Gior-gione, the sensuous elegance of Andrea del Sarto, as well as helping Raphael to a more immediate realization of three-dimensional form. As the work stands, with its main figures in underpainting only, the pyramidal armature is very clear; finished, would the work have looked something like Filippino Lippi's painting of the same subject (1496, Florence, Uffizi) which is based upon it? Why did Leonardo leave so much unfinished? Was he perhaps aware that no compromise was possible between the classical and romantic aspects of his personality, and that his works could not, as Lord Clark put it, 'survive the Florentine ideal of finish'?
Whatever the answer, his interest in structure continued. The two versions of The Virgin of the Rocks (one commissioned 1483 and still unfinished 1508; London, National Gallery; the other c. 1492, Paris, Louvre), for all their dark mystery, show a small number of figures in a pyramidal formation, linked by gesture and glance. The composition is unified by light, on which the colouring depends/Because the very forms are therefore controlled by the light (rather than by hard-edged patches of colour), Leonardo can impart a new majesty to his ideal types and make them assert their position in space, which breathes around them. He adopts a tonal, not a chromatic approach to colour; certain hints of this idea are to be seen in Masaccio, and were presumably recognized by Leonardo, but his main impulse would have come through reading Alberti's Delia Pittura, with its theories based on antique practice.410 Leonardo was also conversant with ancient literature on the subject.403-404
The majestic terror of The Virgin of the Rocks is dispelled in his Last Supper (c. 1495-8, Milan, refectory of S. Maria delle Grazie).408 A comparison with Ghirlandaio's rendering of the subject (1480, Florence, refectory of the
Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper, c. 1495-8. Milan, Refectory of S. Maria delle Grazie.
Ognissanti), or with Castagno's (illustrated here), demonstrates the pithiness of Leonardo's new manner. Ghirlandaio's and Castagno's figures sit calmly, with glazed eyes in a sumptuous setting filled with beauty and incident. What is happening ? Nothing of significance, reply the composition, the mood and the detailing of the picture. Leonardo, Vasari tells
us, spent a lot of time just looking at his own fresco when, as the angry abbot claimed, he should have been 'working'. The artist protested that 'men of genius are really doing most when they work least, for they are thinking out ideas and perfecting the conceptions which they subsequently carry out with their hands'. Leonardo's Last Supper therefore
Castagno: The Last Supper, Florence, Convent ofS. Apollonia. Similar in mood to Ghirlandaio's, but without the garden behind.
After Leonardo: The Battle of Anghiari, engraved by L. Zacchia, 1558.
shows not simply a ritual-to-be of the Church: but its climactic moment whose implications are central to the general experience of humanity, just as they are to the specific beliefs and morality of Christianity: And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, 'Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.' And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one,'Is it I?'
It is this point, before the institution of the Eucharist, that Leonardo chooses as the moment of high drama and significance: its tension is expressed in every face except that of Christ, yet is controlled by the organization of the composition. Christ is seated in a triangle of passivity while around him a storm breaks; the Apostles, like rolling waves, retreat in a highly ordered confusion, by threes to give structural cohesion and emotional contrast. The table trestles (now invisible), 'point' quite clearly to the groupings, while the dark panels of the room, in their staccato rhythm, balance the smooth white horizontal of the tablecloth, which is as strong a unifying element as the perspective with its vanishing point in the head of Christ.
The Last Supper is not realistic, but the representation of an ideal. The table is too small to seat thirteen guests; the space is formed by the exertions of the figures and not
by mathematical perspective; the background is stripped of all diverting incident. Most important, the figures are not portrait studies of ordinary men drawn at random, but types of men making types of reaction to Christ's statement. Because of the abstraction of this highly organized, even academic composition, and because of the potency of the figures, the significance of the painting is heightened. The work sets the tone for Raphael who, like Leonardo, considered painting an intellectual activity. Leonardo despised artists who were like mirrors, who drew 'by practice and judgement of the eye without reason'; rather, he thought of his art as 'a subtle invention which brings philosophy and subtle speculation to bear on the nature of all forms'.
In 1504 Leonardo was commissioned to paint a secular work, The Battle of Anghiari401 (originally Florence, Palazzo Vecchio, Sala del Maggior Consiglio) which introduces us to the difficult problem of Leonardo's knowledge and use of antique art. Just as in The Last Supper Leonardo had experimented with oil as a fresco medium, here he tried the ancient technique of encaustic. Whatever painting survived his experiments was subsequently destroyed by copyists; the central section of The Fight for the Standard is known through poor copies and through prints, but his drawings show that the whole composition included massed cavalry action in an extensive landscape.400 The centrepiece bears the same relation to Quattrocento battle scenes as does The Last Supper to earlier versions: Leonardo concentrates the action with a small number of figures on a grand scale within a vigorous composition which epitomizes the blood and fury of combat. No less than Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina, painted in the same room and in direct competition, Leonardo's work was a political statement of the glorious past of the Republic, now freed from the tyranny of the Medici. But whereas Michelangelo's cartoon consisted entirely of male nudes, not evidently related compositionally, the older man used his powers of characterization and compositional geometry to evoke intense energy. Compared with the confusion of Quattrocento battle scenes, The Fight for the Standard shows again that selection and simplification by epitome which are the essence of High Renaissance classicism. There has been a tendency to deny that Leonardo had any interest in that source of classicism, namely Antiquity, but recent researches have uncovered much relevant material.409 Lord Clark and others detect the influence of antique battle sarcophagi in his work after c. 1500, particularly from examples known to have been in the Aracoeli on the Capitol.399 His drawings of ideal warriors397 have been connected with colossal antique images,402 and his two projects for equestrian statues, the Sforza Monument (begun c. 1483) and the Trivulzio Monument (perhaps begun 1506), clearly show the influence both of actual works like the Marcus Aurelius and of depictions of similar material on antique coins.406'407 Leonardo must have been to Rome sometime between 1500 and 1505, because there are notes about Rome and the area in Codices Madrid II and Atlanticus which strongly suggest that they were made on the spot, and also because a long poem on the antiquities, dedicated to him and probably written by Bramante, would make no sense unless he had already been to the city (see p. 134, below). No work in sculpture by Leonardo (save the small bronze of a prancing horse in Budapest) has come down to us, otherwise the antique inspiration of his secular art might be clearer.
Leonardo was entering an antique phase at just the time when Raphael arrived in Florence. Born in Urbino in 1483, his first allegiance was to the style of Piero della Francesca from nearby Borgo San Sepolcro, whose influence in the bulky figure types and noble space organization is evident in an early work by Raphael, The Madonna of Mercy (banner, late 1490s, Citta di Castello). The stern monumentality of Piero is modified in these early years by the graceful sentimentality of Pietro Perugino, who was Raphael's teacher from c. 1496, as in The Mond Crucifixion (1503?, London, National Gallery). Certain critics have seen in the galvanization of Peruginesque forms and in their greater vitality a proof that Raphael was in contact with Florentine artists, particularly Leonardo, well before 1504. The greater organization of Raphael's art is shown in a comparison between his Betrothal of the Virgin (1504, Milan, Brera; cf. Perugino's painting on the same subject in Caen) and Perugino's Christ giving the Keys to St Peter (1481, Vatican, Sistine Chapel). The wide spaces and straggling figures of Perugino's composition invite our eyes to stray. Raphael reduces the number of figures and disposes them in two balanced groups about the priest. The round temple which closes both compositions is of greater compositional use in Raphael's: its curves, its open door and the podium on which it stands concentrate our attention by providing a dignified foil to the figures. Nor is it redundant in meaning, for it is a vision of the Church (centrally planned, of course) which will spring from the union of Joseph and Mary. All the elements of Raphael's composition are directed and emphasized by geometry; the square, the circle and the triangle control the picture, and pile moral certainty onto mathematical clarity.417
Raphael: Betrothal of the Virgin, 1504. Milan, Brera.
Raphael: Madonna of the Goldfinch, 1507. Florence, Uffizi.
Autumn 1504 was an exciting time to arrive in Florence. Leonardo was working on the Mona Lisa (begun 1503), having returned from Milan in 1500, and also on the St Anne idea which was to result by about 1505 in the National Gallery Cartoon. Michelangelo might already have begun the Doni Tondo (Florence, Uffizi). The gigantic statue of David was set up before the Signoria on 8 September 1504, shortly after Michelangelo had been commissioned to fresco a battle-scene in the Council Chamber in the Palazzo Vecchio. He began to make studies for this, The Battle of Cascina, in October, and Leonardo was soon to begin his rival work in the same room.
Raphael's main concern would have been to learn from such masters.426 Perugino, perhaps himself a pupil of Piero della Francesca in the late 1460s, and working in Florence in the 1470s, might have taught him something of Florentine ideas, but that was different from study of actual works. Two works of 1506, The Madonna of the Goldfinch (Uffizi) and The Madonna of the Meadow (Vienna), pursue Leonardo's interest in a pyramidal arrangement, with two figures contained within the protective silhouette of the adult. Gone is Leonardo's dark mystery, replaced by the seemingly innocent play with a goldfinch in the one picture, and a friendly tussle over a cross in the other: yet the goldfinch is a symbol of the Passion, because it was thought to eat only thorns, while Christ's grasping of the Baptist's cross is another reference to the fate he will accept. The compositional scheme is refined in La Belle Jardiniere (1507, Paris, Louvre). At the same time Raphael was experimenting with half-length portraits such as the Angela Doni and the Maddalena Doni (c. 1506, Florence, Pitti), which both take up the firm pyramidal pose of the Mona Lisa, but simplify the background and banish the chiaroscuro. Mystery gives way to clarity and rigorous intellectualism, as we shall see with the most important example of the genre, Raphael's Baldassare Castiglione (c. 1515, Paris, Louvre). Raphael's other variations on the Mona Lisa theme include La Muta (c. 1505, Urbino), A Cardinal (c. 1511, Madrid), and La Velata (c. 1516, Pitti). Leonardo was to remain a potent influence on the whole of Raphael's career. Donatello was important for Raphael's Vatican frescoes,421'454 but even in the early years his Pazzi Madonna type, partly responsible for the Florentine 'sweet style', is particularly fruitful for that tender gracefulness of Raphael's which, thanks to tourists' souvenir shops, has made of his art one of the most widely known and widely misunderstood of commodities.431 Donatello, then Giovanni Bellini, had placed the heads of Virgin and Child in close proximity for pathos; Raphael did so to bring his Madonna down to earth, to make her relationship with the Child seem human. The marvel is that the images Raphael presents, such as the Casa Tempi Madonna (c. 1507, Munich, Alte Pinakothek), are not ordinary and pedestrian, because their structure, their restraint of detailing, colour and emotion idealizes them, not toward the untouchable supra-human goddesses of some of Leonardo's works, but as an ideal of human sweetness. Works like The Madonna of the Chair (c. 1515, Pitti) and The Sistine Madonna (c. 1515, Dresden), much more monumental than the early Florentine examples, are based on the same motif.
Raphael also learned from Michelangelo, who, indeed, was to write in 1542 that 'all that Raphael knew in his art, he had from me'. He was particularly impressed by the circular Taddei Madonna (bas-relief, c. 1504, London, Royal Academy), which he sketched. The possibilities of the circular composition, and of the Child who flings himself bodily into his mother's protective grasp, while looking back at the bird (a goldfinch) held by his cousin, are worked out in The Orleans Madonna (1506? Chantilly, Musee Conde), a composition closed by the arms of Christ grasping the neck of His mother's dress, and her right hand holding His left foot. A work of greater power but equal stability is The Bridgwater Madonna (1507?, Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, Sutherland Loan) where the Child turns His head over His shoulder toward the Virgin; the vigorous torsion of her head and the sweep of her draperies make a diagonal to balance that of Christ's body. From Perugino's flaccidity to such nervous strength was a great step, which was confirmed in The Entombment (1507, Rome, Borghese Gallery).442 This takes up ideas from Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina and his Doni Tondo (as well as from his Pieta in St
Raphael: The Entombment, 1507. Rome, Galleria Borghese.
Raphael: The Bridgwater Madonna. Duke of Sutherland's collection, on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland.
Peter's, Rome, and from Mantegna's engraving of The Entombment). Preliminary drawings show that Raphael's first idea was for a pieta, but this was then changed to a subject where bodily power and strain might be studied: he paints a Meleager sarcophagus, as it were, but endowed with the greater nervosity of Michelangelo's art. The whole composition, a frieze with crossing diagonals, and figures of declamatory drama, bespeaks a new monu-mentality in Raphael's art, a physical power which projects emotional energy as well. We may speak of a new dimension, for from now on Raphael's figures do appear to require more space than previously: they become more dynamic and assertive, as Raphael learns how to weld figures together in grandiose compositions.412
It is the series of rooms in the Vatican, the Stanze, begun soon after he was called to Rome in mid-1508 at the instigation of Bramante, that shows this development clearly. However, the St Catherine (variously dated 1507 to 1509, London, National Gallery) provides a link
between Florence, Rome and the overwhelming interest of Raphael in the antique from now onwards. The dress might well be taken from some antique statue, and the powerful corkscrew posture is surely derived from Michelangelo's St Matthew (begun 1506 but unfinished, Florence, Accademia), and is therefore indirectly or even directly inspired by the Laocoon, discovered in Rome in January 1506. There is nothing unlikely about this new, mature Raphael using that most dynamic of all sculptural finds as a stepping-stone to a vigorous style452 which was to crystallize in the Stanza della Segnatura. The meaning of the Stanza della Segnatura has already been explained :423 its formal characteristics were to be equally influential.
We know of the enthusiasm with which Raphael studied the remains of ancient sculpture and even painting in Rome.434 Fine collections were to be found in, for example, the Casa Sassi and the Palazzo della Valle. He recorded his impressions in drawings, which were then worked up into compositions. Thus the executioner in The Judgement of Solomon on
Raphael: St Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1508. London, National Gallery.
the ceiling of the Segnatura is taken from a torso in the Casa Sassi, while the scene of Apollo and Marsyas near by is taken from a statue in the della Valle collection.428-432 (The same figure will reappear as the youth dropping from a wall in The Fire in the Borgo.) It is, however, often difficult to recognize prototypes in Raphael's work because his powers of assimilation, already seen in his treatment of ideas from Michelangelo and Leonardo, were applied to antiquities as well.
The first wall lunette in the Segnatura was the so-called Disputa (more accurately The Triumph of Christian Religion). This is a composition without architecture, but with figures sufficiently dynamic to provide a strong spatial structure, helped by abstract geometry. The airy space is shaped like the apse of a church,448 and sweeping semi-circles of figures in three tiers—earth-bound, then thrones of cloud, then God the Father with a host of angels—echo the same circular form. The smallest circle of the monstrance with the wafer is the compositional and intellectual centre of the fresco, and the shape is repeated in the larger circle with the dove, and then in the Glory surrounding the enthroned Christ. Leonardo's lessons have been assimilated: Raphael can now articulate figures much more clearly than did the artist of The Betrothal of the Virgin. He has attained the spiritual excitement of Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi while avoiding any confusion; as in Leonardo's Last Supper, he groups his figures, which adds to their impact, and joins those groups together by gesture, which ensures the unity of the inherently stable semi-circular composition. We might even say that the truth of Christianity is proved for us by geometry, so clear and balanced is the composition, so ideal and noble with its rarified atmosphere and steps up to that human architecture. Indeed, its formal organization was to be highly influential.424
An important spur to some of the more powerful figure types (bottom left and right) was probably provided by a glimpse of Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling. Raphael might have seen work in progress before half the vault (or, according to some, the whole) was unveiled in August 1510. Its prophets and
Raphael: The Disputa, 1509. Rome, Vatican, Stanza della Segnatura.
sibyls provided Raphael with some of the intensity evident in the most important fresco in the Segnatura, The School of Athens (1509-10), in which the atmosphere of 'high clear thought' (in Freedberg's phrase) is overwhelming. The scene is an idealized gathering of the thinkers of Antiquity, together with some moderns (including, for example, Bram-ante), within a domed hall which reflects the splendour of ancient Rome. The setting^has reminiscences not only of the Baths of Cara-calla, the Basilica of Constantine and the Arch of Janus Quadrifons,429 but also of new St Peter's, so perhaps Raphael's mentor Bramante helped in its design. The treatment of the setting adds grandeur to the figures, and increases the profundity of their thoughts; it provides the geometrical elements which balance the fresco just as the meaning of the work is divided by Plato with his Timaeus and Aristotle with his Ethics symbolizing the two
ways of approaching knowledge. These two paths of empiricism and idealism are acted out, as it were, by groups of characters, each symbolic of a specialism, to left and right. Again, therefore, content is balanced and expressed by form. This fresco is the very keystone of Renaissance classicism: it will be used again and again as a reference point for artists learning how to design ideally rational forms in a grand setting.
Yet to write of the Segnatura as a keystone of classicism is to make certain assumptions about the nature and development of Raphael's style. The room was finished in 1511, and Raphael still had nine very productive years of life ahead in which he completed the frescoes of two more rooms the size of the Segnatura, several altarpieces and portraits, ten tapestry cartoons, the Vatican loggias and the Loggia of Psyche in the Villa Farnesina, these last mostly executed by assistants. Raphael was a very
Raphael: The School of Athens, 1509-10. Rome, Vatican, Stanza della Segnatura.
inventive artist, and he was to continue developing solutions to particular stylistic problems for the rest of his life. We must therefore guard against applying partial hindsight to the problem, and seeing the rest of his oeuvre as either an extension of the classicism of the Segnatura, as a betrayal of it, or as a regrettable slide toward Mannerism. Nevertheless, it is true that the later Stanze were painted by the same artist, that there was no caesura between his finishing the Segnatura and beginning the Stanza d'Eliodoro, and that the later rooms were to provide artists like Giulio Romano with stylistic ideas which are such a distortion of the classical ideals of simplicity, balance and restraint that they are almost a contradiction of their evident origins.
In the later Stanze, Raphael had to find a style suitable for actions, not for abstract thoughts, and even incorporate references to contemporary events and contemporary portraits within the historical scenes. There could therefore be no unity of time. Thus the fresco which gives the room its name, The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, shows divine intervention in the form of angels, prayed for by the High Priest Onias (kneeling in the centre), who drive the looters from the Temple. Julius II, the commissioner of the frescoes, is seen at the left, both as a witness to the biblical event, and perhaps also as a symbol of the Lateran Council of 1512. The fresco would therefore mean that the doctrine of the Church, like the treasure of the Temple, is sacrosanct.451 As well as this chronological disjunction, there are compositional and icon-ographic fractures in the work. The subject of the scene, Heliodorus, like some antique river-god, lies at the extreme bottom right, about to be trampled by the angel's rearing horse. The whole motif could be a reminiscence of Leonardo's Trivulzio Monument.425 The physical centre of The School of Athens had been the focal point of meaning as well as composition; here the centre is displaced. The figure style has changed as well. The kneeling woman who looks across at the right-hand group but also swings her trunk and arms towards Julius, as if to alert him to the event, is a linking figure, like the Diogenes in The School of Athens. His movement, his drapery and his pose were simple yet graceful, unlike those of the woman in the later work, who appears frozen in her pose, as if a camera had caught her at the moment of turning. The same is true of the angel with billowing drapery to the left of the horseman. In neither case is the pose or gesture a response to the demands of the situation and story; they both show a delight in vigorous and difficult postures, and are really 'academies' after the manner of Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina figures. (The word indicates their use by students as suitable models for imitation, as well as their source in individually posed figures.) In contrast with The Mass at Bolsena, the first fresco in the room (early 1512), which takes its compositional principles from the Segnatura, The Expulsion of Heliodorus displays force and drama instead of grace and calm; an exploding composition has replaced a harmonious and balanced one.
Between the years 1514 and 1517, Raphael was so busy that only the general design of the Stanza dell'Incendio can be attributed to him, Assistants seized upon the more readily imit-able qualities of their master's work, and the result is evident in the main fresco of the room, The Fire in the Borgo (1514).413'437 The subject-matter of the frescoes in this room consists of events connected with popes called Leo, like the room's commissioner, Leo X; in The Fire in the Borgo, a medieval Pope Leo is seen quenching a fire in the Borgo by making the sign of the cross from the Vatican. Again, as in the previous room, the logical arrangement of the Segnatura has given way to a composition in which incidentals dominate the picture space. The action of the Pope is relegated to a small section of the background, while the foreground is furnished with an elaborate journalistic description of a fire and its effects. The figures perform actions which show off the
Raphael: The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, detail. Rome, Vatican, Stanza d'Eliodoro.
skill of the artist rather than clarifying the meaning of the composition. The theme is, as it were, a hook on which to hang a series of marvellous individual studies. Form has become detached from meaning, pose from purpose (and turned into posturing). Unity of perspective, meaning, balance and form are all lacking. The classical style, in the hands of assistants, has become a different manner, a nascent Mannerism, indeed (see pp. 12If., below).
The probable reason for Raphael's inability to give personal attention to the Stanza dell'Incendio was that he had been commissioned to make a series of ten designs for tapestries456 depicting the Acts of Peter and Paul, destined for the dado of the Sistine Chapel and therefore below the frescoes of Botticelli, Perugino and others on the upper walls, and in direct competition both with them and with Michelangelo's Ceiling. The cartoons were made in 1515-16, and seven of them now hang in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. We must reverse them in our minds as
Raphael: Fire in the Borgo, 1514. Rome, Vatican, Stanza dell'Incendic
in a mirror to visualize their effect in situ, because the tapestry process involved reversal. Their order on the walls has been convincingly reconstructed, and it is evident that their placing, both in relation to each other and to the frescoes on the upper walls (which they roughly match in size), was as carefully worked out both formally and icon-ographically as was that of the designs for the Stanza della Segnatura.447 To take but one parallel, the tapestry of The Healing of the Lame Man, the central scene on the wall devoted to Peter, is placed beneath Botticelli's Healing of the Leper. The fresco has a central temple with two main figures in the foreground, there are towering rocks to either side, and tall, straight trees divide the picture area. In the tapestry,
two central figures stand before the pedimen-ted doorway to the Temple, and the rich columns echo the placing of the rocks and trees in Botticelli's composition. And iconographi-cally The Healing of the Leper is a prefiguration of that Power of the Keys, the potestas ordinis, which Peter has just received in the tapestry immediately to the left, The Donation of the Keys, and is putting into action at the Beautiful Gate.
We can imagine the problems of figure style with which Raphael had to cope. He must compete with but not overwhelm the frescoes in the Chapel. He must produce designs which would stand out clearly in the bland colours of tapestry. His figures must possess sufficient power to survive translation by craftsmen into
Raphael: The Sacrifice at Lystra. Cartoon, detail, 1515-16. London, Victoria and Albert Museum detail.
another medium. This conjunction of needs ensured simple and straightforward compositions with little detail (which would be obliterated in tapestry), and a much greater emphasis on the figures than had been the case even in the Segnatura. Because the figures bulk very large within the patterned borders of the tapestry, they form their own space. Since the Segnatura, there had been a marked increase in rhetoric in Raphael's figures; this is taken to the utmost in the Tapestry Cartoons where, contained within simplified silhouettes, and with sweeping articulated gestures and dramatic expressions, the actors give a powerful (rather than, as in the Segnatura, a graceful) version of ideal form and clear purpose within an ideal setting. The power of the figures is partly anatomical (and that derives from Michelangelo), but is intensified because they are in all cases pushed to the front plane of the pictorial stage and become like the relief sculpture of Michelangelo's Ceiling. The monumental simplicity of the forms on the original tapestries was helped by gold thread, which was added not for ornamentation, but to clarify the drawing. For it is draughtsmanship which is the key to the impact of the series: the Cartoons themselves and the many prints made from preparatory drawings presented Raphael's pupils and later imitators with an encyclopedia of human emotions, and of powerful and credible poses which magnify those emotions to the ideal. We might suggest that the Cartoons are the very limit to which an artist can project a style of restraint, balance and nobility without incurring that magnificent vacuity which can be sensed in the Stanza dell'Incendio.
Simon Gribelin, after Raphael: The Death of Ananias. Engraved 1707.
In such a setting, and for such a learned audience, it was to be expected that the Tapestries would be suffused with the spirit of Antiquity. Raphael (appointed Keeper of Inscriptions and Remains of the City of Rome in August 1515) informs his scenes with a mixture of inferred fact and projected ideal, the result of much study of the biblical texts and of a wide range of ancient and contemporary references. The Healing of the Lame Man is inspired by Early Christian sarcophagi of the 'columnar' type, as well as by the depiction of the same subject on the Ciborium of Sixtus IV, made by various artists c. 1475/80 for the High Altar of old St Peter's (now in the Grotte Vaticane). This, in its turn, is decorated with scenes from the lives of Peter and Paul in a style much inspired by Roman imperial sculpture. Similarly, The Death of Ananias owes its arrangement to the Oratio Augusti relief on the Arch of Constantine, and The Charge to Peter to Early Christian sarcophagi of the 'city gate' variety.450 Usually, the figure style on such sources is inadequate for Raphael's needs, and we can sense rather than demonstrate his debt to Giotto, Masaccio, Donatello and Michelangelo.
Most of a Renaissance artist's production was, of necessity, religious, but occasional secular commissions allowed him to manifest an even greater sympathy with the spirit of Antiquity. The Villa Farnesina was a countrified retreat which, in architecture and de-
coration, was intended to look like its antique counterpart.443-444 Raphael's first work there was The Triumph of Galatea (perhaps c. 1512, Sala di Galatea). The convincingly antique central figure455 extends the corkscrew twist of the London St Catherine (c. 1508) and projects its dynamism into a composition with other figures. Galatea must glance toward the adjacent fresco of Polyphemus (by Sebastiano del Piombo), but at the same time she controls her chariot, which moves out toward the spectator. Her pose is echoed by the other figures: the left-hand group near to the plane of the wall, and the right-hand group considerably behind it, are linked by a putto whose pose is that of Galatea herself. Flying putti aim their bows at the girl, and we now realize how tightly the composition is organized: they point to Galatea's head, which is the centre of a circle, with the twirling bodies of nymphs and tritons on the circumference. A wheel is formed, and the spokes are Galatea's limbs, her upward glance, the dolphin reins, and the arrows of the putti. The dynamism of the work is increased because the spectator views this and the other frescoes of land and sea as if from inside a loggia, marked by the wall pilasters, so that the tightly packed figures in The Triumph of Galatea explode towards him. Several years later, probably in 1517, Raphael designed and in part executed frescoes for the loggia of the Farnesina (they were completed in January 1518). The loggia, opening directly onto the garden with its rich population of antique statues, had as its theme Cupid's love for Psyche. Raphael constructed an architecture of frescoed greenery, an arbour resembling a garden structure, and stretched simulated 'tapestries' along the centre part of the flat vault to keep out the sun. These 'tapestries' have scenes of The Council of the Gods and The Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche while the ten spandrels relating walls to ceiling show earlier episodes; intervening lunettes show how Cupid conquers all the gods through love. Perhaps the walls were to receive more 'tapestries' to complete the story,427 or even real woven tapestries, which would have made the loggia's links with Mantegna's Camera degli Sposi even clearer. Certainly, the whole
Raphael: Galatea, c. 1512. Rome, Villa Farnesina.
Rome, Villa Farnesina, general view of the Sala di Psyche, designed by Raphael.
scheme is taken from some antique decoration now lost: it is the kind of conceit which appealed to the ancient Romans, and which Raphael might have studied in the buried ruins of their villas.414 This type of room and subject-matter, its style,446 its arrangement of scenes within fanciful architecture and its subtle connection with the garden, greatly influenced artists from Giulio Romano at Mantua to Annibale Carracci, Pietro da Cortona and beyond.416
An antiquarian scheme for which the sources are more evident is the decoration of the Vatican Logge (1518-19) with scenes from the Old Testament set amid grotesques and stucco-work. Again, Raphael was too busy to do the actual painting, but the whole idea depends from his professional concern for archaeology. His post of Keeper of Inscriptions and Remains made him overseer of the excavations necessary to make a decayed city into a new one: he would have seen all discoveries, whether of statues or buildings, in order to decide which should be preserved. His passionate concern about the destruction of Rome is clear from the Letter to Leo X, quoted above (p. 59). The most important discovery for the designs for the Logge was the Palace of Nero near the Colosseum called the Golden House, or Domus Aurea, because of its luxury. Parts of this mostly buried structure had been known since at least 1480, and the style of room decorations had found popularity418'439 at the hands of Perugino (1499/1500, Cambio, Perugia) and Pinturicchio (notably in the Borgia Apartments of the Vatican, 1492^1). Raphael uses structures inspired by the Golden House to decorate both the walls and the vaults and to frame the biblical scenes, which he treats as framed pictures. Of similar inspiration is the stucco-work which Giovanni da Udine, from Raphael's shop, modelled on the arches separating the bays, incorporating within that antique world some works by great moderns (including Donatello's David and the Jonah in S. Maria del Popolo, designed by Raphael) as if to place them on an equal footing with the famous antiques reproduced, such as the Apollo Belvedere. There were other schemes from the Raphael shop of the same nature as those for the Logge: for the Bathroom of Cardinal Bibbiena*19'*53 the Loggetta (both Vatican, 1519), and the great loggia of the Villa Madama, decorated by pupils after the master's death. All these decorations and the schemes they spawned445'449 would have been pointless had their connections with ancient Rome gone unrecognized.
Rome, Vatican, the Loggias of Raphael: a bay of the second floor gallery. P. Letarouilly: Le Vatican, Paris, 1882.
Thus far in this account of Raphael's career a greater weight has been given to his frescoes than to his panel pictures. This is deliberate and reasonable: buon fresco was the natural medium for the Renaissance artist, and a coherent outline of Renaissance classicism in painting could almost dispense with the less prestigious panels. Furthermore, Raphael's frescoes were often more public (*The Stanze were difficult of access while they were the Pope's private apartments; under Sixtus V (from 1585) the situation changed, and his extensive building programme ensured that they became as public as the Sistine Chapel had always been) and hence of a grandiloquent conception, and continuously available in their original setting. The same applies to the Tapestries which, like the frescoes, were well-known through prints.
Raphael's first important altarpiece of the Roman period, The Madonna ofFoligno (1512 ?, Vatican), is based on the stable Leonardesque triangle with which he had experimented in Florence. Helping this construction to weld heaven to earth and saints to Virgin and Child is the circular aureole against which Mother and Son are seen; this is echoed not only in the semi-circular top of the panel itself, and in the rainbow under the Virgin's feet, but also in the disposition of the figures on the earth. All forms are grand, all gestures unequivocal, and the tone is ideal. The majesty of Virgin and Child is balanced by their immediacy; this is contrived on the one hand by the geometrical control and by the splendid torsion of the two figures and, on the other, by the Virgin's pose. Her right leg forms a link with the right arm of St Francis, and, because the figures on the ground are so tangible, with us. The simplicity of the finished work is only apparent, for every element of the panel is exactly judged, right down to the placing of the saints and donor close up against the frame, which gives to the work the immediacy and impact that Raphael later achieved in the Tapestry Cartoons.
Raphael: Madonna of Foligno, c. 1512. Rome, Vatican.
A development of the Madonna of Foligno is to be seen in his most influential altarpiece, The Sistine Madonna (1514?, Dresden).411-433'441 Here, the sense of immediacy, of
Word made Flesh, is greater, and derives again from the composition. We are convinced that the Virgin is walking downwards and out of the picture towards us. The picture surface is treated like a window, with a ledge (on which rests Sixtus' crown, and the two wistful and slightly bored putti), and a curtain rail, the curtain on which is gathered back to reveal the heavenly vision against another cloud of angel faces. Here is Leonardo's triangle in movement: the forceful blue and red of the Virgin's robes is drawn out by the splendid gold of Sixtus' cope, and a twist that is a confirmation of the Virgin's descent is provided by the fine con-trapposto of St Barbara. Raphael has very plausibly hidden the saints' feet in cloud, so that they intercede for us from a position intermediate between heaven and earth. The two putti, far from upsetting the tone of the vision, temper it, as they do the composition: for as well as providing links in the circular movement, and defining our earth, their expressions soften the monumental seriousness of the Virgin and Child. In composition if not
Raphael: The Sistine Madonna, 1514? Dresden.
in mood, The Sistine Madonna is very similar to the roughly contemporary Triumph of Galatea. The Sistine Madonna is effortlessly clear in form, psychology and the illusion of movement. Nothing is forced or gratuitous, and the tightness and exactitude of the composition can be tested by using the mind's eye to alter a gesture here, or a curve of drapery there. The psychology partakes of the same balance between hieratic grandeur and the tender affection of the face-against-face of Virgin and Child. Their emotional identity is again underlined by the composition, not by grimaces or overt emotionalism: the gentle curves of the Child interlace with the Mother's arms and garments, encapsulated within the voluptuous sweep of her veil. The tactility of the painting is, of course, also a result of the oil technique and of the chiaroscuro which it allows. Even in fresco, a comparison between early and late Stanze shows that Raphael was moving toward a more forceful and atmospheric presentation of the human body. This can be seen in his Madonna of the Chair (1514?, Florence, Pitti) which is stylistically and compositionally close to The Sistine Madonna. Here, the emotional realism is made explicit by the circularity of the composition, which closely echoes the tondo shape, using the turned wood chair-back to anchor it in the vertical. This light-reflecting piece of gilded wood, and the Virgin's headscarf, are so detailed that the forms seem as real as the emotions they express. Yet this acuity is balanced by the broadness of execution of the rest of the panel: the detail is all on the picture plane, and shadowy vagueness increases as the forms are canted into depth. Compare the similar devices of Sixtus' crown and equally intricate cope in The Sistine Madonna: in both works, a conjunction of fluidity and precision effects an overwhelming sense of presence, of palpitating life.
These same characteristics are present in Raphael's best portraits,430 particularly the Baldassare Castiglione (c. 1514/15, Paris, Louvre), which might be called his critique of the Mona Lisa. Gone are the dreamy, misty background, the equivocation of the facial expression, and the intricacy of clothing and
Raphael: Madonna of the Chair, c. 1514. Florence, Pitti.
landscape, in favour of a plain, light-filled ground and a more open face. The pose remains, as does some of the chiaroscuro. Leonardo's interest in textures has also been retained, and is exploited in a softly-lit description of grey fur against black cloth, set off by the white of the cravat and the flesh tones of face and hands. In spite of the apparent simplicity, this portrait of a humanist is infinitely rich in psychology; the slight tilt of the head, the twist of the body, the clasping of the hands, the soulful eyes—all bespeak a nervous energy which is the result of those reticent yet abundant movements within the calm and stable triangle of body and head. In effect, the calm, level eyes in the spot-lit face reveal the man's soul, for the slight restlessness of the drapery is made to indicate personality. Raphael therefore presents us with two portraits in one: the outer man, a portrait of calm and restrained nobility, and that man's sensibility, which has impact precisely because it forms a counterpoint to the statuesque exterior. This alchemy can be better appreciated by comparing the work with La Velata (1515?, Pitti), similar in structure but empty of psychology. Just as Raphael's altarpieces, portraits and frescoes change from a simple stasis to a more vigorous type of composition during the second decade, so his smaller panels pursue a
Raphael: Baldassare Castiglione, c. 1514-15. Paris, Louvre. RIGHT Leonardo da Vinci: Mona Lisa, 1503f. Paris, Louvre.
similar development. The process begins in about 1510/11 with the Alba Madonna (Washington), which is startlingly different from even those Michelangelo-inspired works of his Florentine period. It is, rather like the London St Catherine, conceived in an altogether more heroic form. Whereas earlier exercises had looked back to the Leonardo of The Virgin of the Rocks, or to Michelangelo's Taddei Madonna, this work explores the formal problems inherent in Leonardo's theme of The Virgin and Child with St Anne, clothed in the heroic bodies of the Sistine Ceiling. Here, as in Leonardo's prototype, the resultant composition is a vigorous parallelogram of meaning, but it is evident that much further tension will dispel the classical balance. That point is reached in The Madonna of the Curtain (c. 1514, Munich); this makes an interesting comparison with The Madonna of the Chair, which perhaps precedes it a little. The sense of presence so strong in that work is even more imposing in The Madonna of the Curtain: in the tondo, the arm of the chair defines the picture plane, the distinction between our space and painted space. No such conventional barrier exists in the other work, nor are the attitudes so restrained. If, in the tondo, the forms complement one another harmonically, then here similar poses have been adjusted to create an outward-straining tension centred on the pose of the Christ Child, whose left knee and foot protrude into our space. This arrangement, together with the fluidity of the chiaroscuro and the Michelan-gelesque heroism of form, point the way to a series of multi-figure altarpieces of the following years, not often autograph, and too sensuous and full of exciting incident to be called classical. Thus The Canigiani Holy Family (1508?, Munich), where a pyramid of five figures is tightly formed, develops into the Madonna dell'Impannata (c. 1514, Pitti), where the formal structure begins to lack cohesion. La Perla (c. 1518, Madrid, Prado) continues the trend toward elaboration of incident and weakening of classical structure.
The work which best demonstrates the incipient confusion of Raphael's late style is The Transfiguration (begun 1518?, Vatican), which was completed by Giulio Romano and Penni after Raphael's death. The design depicts two distinct events, namely the Transfiguration itself and the curing of a young boy of possession by the Devil which follows the Transfiguration in St Matthew's account. The composition makes the events synchronous, and uses the scene of healing to add drama to the Transfiguration, which hitherto had been depicted as a tranquil event. An added spur to drama was probably the commissioning by Giulio de' Medici of a companion altarpiece from Sebastiano del Piombo, a follower of Raphael (The Resurrection of Lazarus, London, National Gallery). On Raphael's death, the top section of The Transfiguration was nearly complete, the lower part in sketch form only. Little wonder, therefore, that the contributions of pupils somewhat overbalance the scene with Christ, who is above and behind the large foreground figures. In other words, the lower section seems a logical development of the inflated figure style visible in the later Stanze, but the figures lack that logical concordance between pose and intention which triumphs in
Raphael: Transfiguration, 1518. Rome, Vatican, Pinacoteca.
the Tapestry Cartoons. Perhaps this late work can be seen, as one commentator has it, as 'the explicit and far-reaching investigation of Leonardesque principles'.440 Certainly, it overreaches the bounds of classical decorum in its strong chiaroscuro and powerful yet sometimes vacuous gesturing and posturing. If we judge the work by Raphael's intentions, as seen in a group of beautiful drawings,438 we must nevertheless accept that the painting, had it been totally autograph, would have presented an interpretation of the human body much more vigorously alive and dramatically powerful than anything in the Segnatura, something of a stature to inspire the classical revival of the seventeenth century, and perhaps the painted equivalent of the Tapestry Cartoons.
Throughout his life, Raphael's multifarious
Michelangelo: Pitti Madonna, c. 1504—5. Florence, Bargello.
activities built up for him a formidable reputation among his contemporaries.422 He was praised as a restorer of the beauties of ancient Rome and, in Baldassare Castiglione's characterization, as the man who breathed life into the corpse of the city of Rome, who endowed it with antique decorum, and whom, for this reason, the gods carried off. His death did not spell the ehd of his style, which was continued not only by his principal assistants (particularly Giulio Romano) and by prints made after his drawings and finished compositions (chiefly by Marcantonio Raimondi),420 but also by the fame of his own paintings, which were much studied. Because of his ability to assimilate lessons from the styles of others, and to continue and develop solutions to artistic problems on his own account, and because of his achievement in so many media and genres, Raphael was to be quite simply the most influential of all European artists.415'435'436 The solutions which he propounded were, in terms of style, composition and psychology so fruitful that they could be developed even further by succeeding generations. Far from being frozen in the ice of passionless perfection (as he is so often presented), Raphael's treatment of a sensuous yet ideal humanity gave to the classical tradition a vigour which would last to the age of Ingres.
We have seen that Michelangelo played an important part in the development of Raphael's style. Indeed, in all but his late works, and in both painting and sculpture, Michelangelo took up and enriched the classical tradition as he saw it in the works of Giotto, Masaccio, Ghiberti, Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia. It was probably while he was in Ghirlandaio's shop (1488/9) that he made drawings after Giotto and Masaccio, obviously impressed by their statuesque monumentality; he sought, in those drawings, to increase even further the sensation ofgravitas, of high seriousness, and of bulk transmitted to the garments by the body underneath, Vasari tells us that he next entered the 'sculpture garden' of Lorenzo de' Medici, where he could draw and model after specimens of antique and modern sculpture under the eye of Bertoldo, a pupil of Donatello and a sculptor of wide antiquarian interests.478 None of his sculpture from this period survives, but we can be sure that he owed his lifelong interest in Neoplatonism and its ultimate identity with Christian philosophy to the circle around Lorenzo, to people like Landino, Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Poliziano, the tutor to the Medici children. Neoplatonism, with its belief that the beautiful is but the outward sign of virtue, led Michelangelo to express his vision of Christianity (for he did little secular work) by figures that are as beautiful as antique statues, yet are sometimes imbued with a tormenting self-knowledge which distinguishes them from their models.477 Throughout his career, the study of Antiquity provided the basis of his style,458-471 helped by reference to Florentine traditions.474'487
Perhaps his earliest extant work is The Madonna of the Stairs (1489/92, Florence, Casa Buonarroti), which shows the Virgin, seated in pure profile and staring straight ahead. Its stern monumentality is inspired by the example of Donatello,464 its form just possibly by Greek grave stelae. To these sources Michelangelo adds the powerful torsion of the Christ Child encased within the silhouette of His
mother: a token of things to come. No one in Florentine art except Donatello had ever made an image of the Virgin with so much of the prophetess about her: she is the ancestor of the great figures on the Sistine Ceiling.482 Another early work, The Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs (1492?, Casa Buonarroti), is clearly a reinterpretation of antique battle sarcophagi: its vigour derives partly from the torsion of individual figures, and partly from the symmetry of their arrangement in a circular movement around the central figures. Surely the work must have been one of the sources for • Raphael's Galatea, which uses the same compositional idea.
In 1496 Michelangelo went to Rome, whither his fame had preceded him in the form of a Sleeping Cupid in imitation of the antique,479 which he had sold to a Roman dealer.476 This is lost, but his Bacchus (1496/7, Florence, Bargello), another imitation of an antique type, was bought by the connoisseur Jacopo Galli and placed in his garden of antiques, which it was evidently considered to rival. The company it kept there reminds us of one source, but another is the work of Jacopo della Quercia, particularly his figured portals for S. Petronio in Bologna (1425-38). Michelangelo worked in that church in 1494/5, and elements of Jacopo's sinuous classicism appear throughout his work, from the nervosity of his Pieta for St Peter's (1498/9) to the figures on the Sistine Ceiling. The St Peter's Pieta also profits from a study of Leonardo (especially The Virgin of the Rocks) in the pyramidal simplicity of the composition and the understatement of emotion. Leonardesque also is the elaboration of the drapery, to be replaced in The Bruges Madonna (begun 1501, Bruges, Notre Dame; sent to Flanders 1506) by a more monumental simplicity of form and an austerity of psychology which parallels that of the contemporary David. Just as Raphael develops Leonardo's pyramidal composition in the early 1500s, so too does Michelangelo.461 Further variations on the form are provided by three tondi of this period. The marble Pitti Tondo (1503/5, Florence, Bargello), more massive and simple than the St Peter's Pieta, includes a Christ derived from the mourning genius type
Michelangelo: Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs, 1492? Florence, Casa Buonarroti.
on antique reliefs. The marble Taddei Tondo (c. 1505-6, London, Royal Academy), an even more vigorous triangle of meaning, is again heavily dependent on the antique for its motifs.483 The painted Doni Tondo (1504?, Uffizi) takes the scheme even further: Michelangelo would have studied Leonardo's cartoon of The Virgin and Child with St Anne (London, National Gallery), which was on exhibition in Florence in 1501, and would have recognized it as a new departure for that artist both in the complexity of its structure and in a totally new monumentality of form.486
All four works—the Bruges Madonna and the three tondi—signal a new stylistic direction in their greater simplicity of form and their neglect of those qualities of delicacy, intricacy and prettiness most sought in contemporary Florentine art. They lead to the growth of Michelangelo's version of the High Renaissance manner. This is best seen in the marble David481 (1501/4, Florence, Acca-demia), a subject of great political importance to the Florentines.465 Michelangelo's figure looks back to the Fortitudo on Nicola Pisano's Pisa Baptistery Pulpit, and to the Hercules on the Porta della Mandorla of Florence Cathedral. Hercules appears on seals of the city of Florence, and Vasari underlines the significance of the David by the gloss that 'as David
Michelangelo: David, 1501-4. Florence, Accademia.
defended his people and governed with justice, so should this city be defended with courage and governed with justice'. And indeed, whereas former representations such as Donatello's and Verrocchio's had shown David as boyish and clothed, Michelangelo showed him in the guise of an antique hero, and nude.470 The artist's conception of the splendour of his body, a counterpart to the nobility
of his mind, is only partly a result of the colossal height of nearly seventeen feet; it also derives from the physical power which is latent in the body. The clarity of the pose and the hero's restrained anger are evident; David also carries a sling, but it is mostly hidden so that the statue is a generalized symbol of David and his accomplishments, rather than a specific reference to the fight with Goliath. In fact David has not yet met Goliath: he stands in a more confident version of the pose of Donatello's St George, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, looking defiantly toward the threat from the south.473 The David is therefore both biblical and antique hero, and a political symbol of Florentine liberty; but why is it so huge? Michelangelo certainly looked on the commission as a challenge to make something of the block of marble, supposedly 'ruined' by an earlier artist; this is why the statue is so thin from front to back. More important are the antique traditions of colossal statues both of gods and as commemorative monuments (the Horse-Tamers of Monte Cavallo have been suggested as a source),485 and the Florentine tradition as well.480 Donatello made two 'giants' for the Cathedral, a Joshua of terracotta (a brave experiment in such a medium, 1410) and a Hercules /David, of which a model with metal plates over stone was made in 1415. Both are lost, but both were known to Michelangelo who was himself to make a gigantic statue of Hercules for Fontainebleau, which is also lost.463 Henceforth, Michelangelo concentrates on the heroic male nude, as in The Battle of Cascina, begun in 1504 for the Sala del Maggior Consiglio (cf. pp. 92-3, above) of the Palazzo Vecchio. Leonardo's scene designed for the same room had been of violent action in the heat of battle (The Battle of Anghiari). Michelangelo did not show a battle at all, but a call to arms while Florentine soldiers were bathing. His subject-matter is therefore the nude human body shown in various postures as the soldiers haul themselves from the water and get dressed; indeed, the work (known only through copies and prints, as is that of Leonardo) is popularly called The Bathers. This work perhaps reflects Michelangelo's preference for sculpture over painting: he tends
After Michelangelo: Engraving of a figure from The Battle of Cascina.
Luigi Schiavonetti, after Michelangelo: Bathers surprised at the Battle of Cascina. (Taken from Henry Howard's eighteenth-century copy of Sansovino's copy.)
to isolate the figures, and to treat them each as individual studies and not as parts of a coherent composition. The same is often true on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling where, excepting the antique bas-reliefs of the scenes, the greater part of the area is covered by painted statues in splendid isolation. Little wonder that The Bathers was a popular academy for students (who obliterated it from the wall by tracing; it never got further than the underdrawing), or that it was usually studied for individual figures or groups, and not as a complete composition.
Michelangelo's vision of Antiquity was radically enlarged by the discovery of the Laocoon in Rome in January 1506, the style of which accentuated tendencies of power and bodily tension in his own work. The Laocoon allowed him, as it were, to animate the David, and he drew on the Trojan priest's physical suffering as a metaphor for the spiritual inspiration of a long line of prophets, saints and sibyls both painted and sculpted. The St Matthew (1506, Florence, Accademia), for example, is inspired by the antique, but it might have been begun before the discovery of the Laocoon. No matter, for Michelangelo could have borrowed the contrapposto pose from either the Pasquino (one of the famous antique talking statues of Rome), or from Donatello's majestic group of Abraham and Isaac on the
Michelangelo: St Matthew 1503-5. Florence, Accademia.
Michelangelo: Jonah, with Haman to the left and The Brazen Serpent to the right. Rome, Vatican, Sistine Chapel Ceiling.
Campanile of Florence Cathedral. (*G. de Francovich has suggested that Donatello knew of the Pasquino from his visit to Rome at the beginning of the fifteenth century (see Bibliography, below, under Donatello).The St Matthew presents a vision of revelation, and is a harbinger of the Julius Monument, first projected in 1505 but never completed. The structure of this tomb, judging from Michelangelo's sketches, from the 'slaves' made for it, and from the various modern reconstructions of how it was intended to look, resembled that of antique monuments, particularly Roman imperial mausolea or temporary funeral pyres.466 The latter he would have known from bas-reliefs and from literary descriptions.
Different projects for the Julius Monument were to occupy Michelangelo for much of his life, and it is a commonplace that he partly mitigated the 'Tragedy of the Tomb' on the Sis-tine Chapel Ceiling, which he painted, against his will, between 1508 and 1512. The Julius Monument was intended to grace the new St Peter's, the very centre of the artistic revival of Rome (a much reduced version was eventually erected in S. Pietro in Vincoli). Despite all difficulties, how much easier was it to paint the enormous structure on the vault of the Sistine Chapel, where he could indulge his sculptor's preference for a large number of massive single figures within a painted architectural structure, which in its turn frames a series of figured scenes usually treated as bas-reliefs. The Ceiling complements the famous frescoes on the walls, which show Man sub lege and sub gratia, for it tells the first part of the story of Man, beginning with the Creation of the world, and Man ante legem, followed by the domination of Man, then of sin which will rule until Man is redeemed by Christ. The four pendentives in the four corners contain Old Testament scenes of temporal salvation which are types for Christ's salvation of the world through crucifixion, and eight of His ancestors are shown in triangular niches, four down either side of the Ceiling. In the spandrels between these figures are twelve prophets and sibyls, the seers Jewish and pagan who foretold Christ's coming. They, in their inspiration, are contrasted with the putti who decorate their thrones, the bronze coloured figures chained to either side, and the ignudi above their heads, who show varying degrees of awareness of the scenes they witness.
The style of the Ceiling changes as Michelangelo progresses from above the entrance towards the altar wall. The first scene, The Flood, is the most painterly and complicated of all, a version of The Bathers, so to speak. Michelangelo then begins to limit his treatment to a few figures which bulk large in the frame, as in The Sacrifice of Noah and The Drunkenness of Noah. The contiguous ignudi, which are almost mirror images of each other (the result of reversing each cartoon and thereby using it twice) are in poses both elegant and simple, without strain. The five corresponding seers likewise adopt straightforward if powerful attitudes. The next stage, with The Expulsion from Paradise and The Birth of Eve, shows an increasing concern with monumentality, perhaps coupled with the realization that the figures already painted were either too small or not sufficiently demonstrative to make an impression on the spectator at ground level. From this point on, Michelangelo therefore increases the size of the figures, gives more drama to poses and gestures, and thereby magnifies the impact of the story. Now the ignudi, far from being symmetrically opposed, are often strongly contrasted, with one facing in, the other facing out, the one in extension, the other in contraction, or the one tense, the other calm and relaxed. But it is in the seers that this enlargement of scale is most evident. Whereas one of the first, The Delphic Sibyl, is calm and relaxed, the later Libyan Sibyl is not only greater in size but also magnified in psychological power. This numen depends from the increased inventiveness and intensity of the pose. The Delphica holds her left arm across her torso, pointing right and looking left; the Libica intensifies this movement, helped by the heavy book of prophecies she is holding, and by the tall block on which she rests her left foot
Michelangelo: LEFT The Delphic Sibyl and RIGHT The Libyan Sibyl. Rome, Vatican, Sistine Chapel Ceiling.
and which, as it were, electrifies the con-trapposto. Of all the seers it is the last, Jonah, who is the most impressive: his pose mimics those of the ignudi (it shows Michelangelo's study of the Laocoon group), and reflects his excitement and wonder at seeing God, for his gaze is directed upward, toward the scene of God separating Light from Darkness. A similar development informs the four pendentives. The early pair, David and Goliath and Judith and Holofernes, have small figures within an illusionistic pictorial space. The pair adjacent to the altar wall, Haman and The Brazen Serpent, are as energetic as the Jonah, and the inspiration for both is the Laocoon group.
The Sistine Ceiling, in its structure, its sculptural figures and its histories, is mainly a reinterpretation of antique art467 but it is also a reworking of Quattrocento elements, taken particularly from Ghiberti, Masaccio and Jacopo della Quercia. This substitute for the Julius Monument makes figures the form and colouring of which are sculptural, as is their location in niches for the seers and on pedestals for the ignudi. The use of medallions and histories in what is effectively bas-relief strengthens the reminiscence of a monument in marble; and it has been suggested that the whole Ceiling forms a 'Tree of Jesse' for Pope Julius II (and is therefore some substitute for the Tomb).468 The main structural source of the Ceiling, and of some of its devices, is the antique Roman triumphal arch (and this is even more clearly the case with the designs for the Tomb). The triumphal arch showed Michelangelo how to articulate a blank wall with pilasters or columns, bas-reliefs and medallions, and even free-standing figures. The Arch of Constantine, in Rome, has all these features, with genii reclining in the angle formed by the arch and the architectural Order, and something approaching caryatids decorating the pedestals of the columns. All these elements Michelangelo borrows. The columns become square pilasters with caryatids, marking out the rhythm of the Ceiling and providing pedestals for the ignudi; the same pilasters are given strongly projecting cornices, which further define the history section and distinguish it from the line of seers
down either side, and which also provide the sides of the seers' thrones. The ignudi themselves, as well as some of the medallions they support, are taken from the antique. The bronze-coloured nudes, to either side of the seers, and confined in their triangular niches, are variations of the genii on triumphal arches. Some of the larger figures are also specifically antique, like God the Father in The Creation of Adam, taken from a Victory on the Arch of Titus, and one of Christ's ancestors, who is drawn from a seated river god on the Arch of Septimius Severus. For some of the histories, Michelangelo looks to fellow Florentines. The Expulsion from Paradise is a reworking both of Masaccio's treatment in the Brancacci Chapel and of Jacopo della Quercia's on the portal of S. Petronio, Bologna. The Creation of Adam and The Creation of Eve likewise depend on Jacopo, but the Gothic swirl of his light draperies has in all cases been monumentalized. The same process applies in his borrowings from Ghiberti, whose Gates of Paradise provide one of the ideas for Adam in The Creation of Adam, while his God the Father is reworked into the Creator in Michelangelo's Creation of Eve.
Michelangelo transforms his borrowings, and clothes them in a style more heroic and infused with greater energy and inspiration than anything hitherto seen. Like the Stanza della Segnatura, the Sistine Ceiling is a definitive statement of classicism; or, in Tolnay's phrase, 'a second reality superposed on our own and containing the essence of existence'. It is the expression of an ideal of religious revelation achieved through a union of the beauty of Antiquity and the inspiration of Christianity. Both elements are evident in what is justly the most famous scene on the Ceiling, The Creation of Adam, whose 'Greekness' has even provoked the suggestion that Michelangelo could have seen a drawing by Cyriaeus of Ancona of the Parthenon Theseus.484 Here, Man is indeed made in the image of God, but it is an image conditioned by the Renaissance vision of Antiquity. The scene epitomizes the sculptural clarity of the Ceiling particularly in the later parts where the intricacies of detailing and of small figures and complicated compositions have given way to a vigorous grandeur in which the basic unit is the individual human body. Such concentration on the individual body in movement made it easy for students to excerpt figures and put them to different uses. Thus one of the last scenes, The Separation of Sky from Water, presented Raphael with a pose which he developed into the wonderful gesture of the apostle in The Sacrifice at Lystra. The seers and the ignudi were particularly popular, from Fontainebleau (where they were re-created as stucco sculptures) to Annibale Carracci's Farnese Gallery and beyond.
Despite the interval between the Ceiling and Michelangelo's two other fresco commissions, the frescoes are remarkably homogeneous in style, given that no architectural structure was possible in either case. The Last Judgement (1536-41) on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel may be regarded as an affirmation of the classical principles of the Ceiling at a time when the Mannerist styles were popular in Rome. The two frescoes in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican, The Crucifixion of Peter and The Conversion of Saul (1542-50), are as athletic and inspired in their figure style as the Ceiling itself, except for what can only be called a mystification of emotion which is an element in the increasing terribilita of the ageing Michelangelo.
After the completion of the Sistine Ceiling, Michelangelo's sculpture went through a phase which, in its exploration of tendencies present in the Laocoon group, can be called Mannerist. The two works nearest to the Ceiling in date, The Dying Slave and The Rebellious Slave (finished 1513?, Paris, Louvre), both intended for the 1513 version of the Julius Monument, owe their manner to the ignudi and the bronze captives between the prophets and sibyls on the Ceiling, and their origin to one of Laocoon's sons and to the priest himself respectively. The statue of Moses (1515/16) for the same version of the Tomb is also reminiscent of the Ceiling, for his pose is a combination of those of Joel and Isaiah. What explanation might be offered for the slaves is difficult to determine, for their place on the Tomb and their meaning are matters for conjecture. The Moses certainly
Michelangelo: Tomb of Giuliano de' Medici. Florence, S. Lorenzo, New Sacristy, 1524-33.
possesses greater emotional stability, but the whole conception of the work is inflated beyond any classical norm, and might be said to make a mannerism of the style of the prophets on the Ceiling.
From the 1520s, Michelangelo increasingly sought satisfaction in architecture and therefore gave less and less time to sculpture. In the Medici Chapel (1524-33, Florence, S. Lorenzo), as in the near-by Library (discussed below, pp. 140ff.), he broke the bounds of classicism in sculpture as in architecture.472 The chapel contains the statues of Giuliano de' Medici and Lorenzo de' Medici, seated one to either side, looking toward a group of the Virgin and Child on the altar wall. The clarity of these figures (descendants, again, of the seers on the Ceiling) contrasts with the stronger torsion and much less precise emotional complexion of the figures which rest on the tomb chests underneath the seated heroes: Dusk and Dawn beneath Lorenzo, and Day and Night beneath Giuliano. Classicism demands stasis, or rationally induced movement. These figures, however, represent eternal change as, under the influence of restless emotion, their bodies appear
Michelangelo: Victory. Florence, Palazzo Vecchio.
to slip down the sloping tops of the sarcophagi. They are palpable reminders not of Man's perfectibility and glory, but of instability and approaching death and destruction, as would have been the mouse which, Condivi assures us, Michelangelo thought of introducing to symbolize the frailty of Man and his environment. Elegance, an extravagant contrapposto, and a delight in compositional intricacy, made these four figures examples for later Mannerists : imitations of them and of the general design of the tombs stretch into the seventeenth century. A similar finesse and comparable pose inform Michelangelo's Victory Group (1527/8?, Florence, Palazzo Vecchio), which it is instructive to compare with the David or the St Matthew. Both these works had a simple grandeur occasioned by the meaning they embodied in their poses. The Victory, on the other hand, assumes an elaborate posture of 'easy strain', his lissom knee between the shoulder blades of a much heavier opponent; he twists his own arm across his body, but for no apparent reason other than to impart a satisfying twist to the composition. The gesture is there for effect, and is without sufficient cause; it is artificial—a mannerism. That this is but a phase in Michelangelo's sculpture is seen by his return to a classical vein in the two statues for the c. 1542 version of the Tomb: The Active Life ('Leah') and The Passive Life ('Rachel'). They show us a sculptural version of the Pauline Chapel frescoes, on which he was working during these years: heavy figures with broadly treated drapery and stern, almost Hellenistic-looking faces. His final sculptures, like the last works of Dona-tello, are part of a private world. In the Florence Pieta (Florence, Cathedral, by 1555) and the Rondanini Pieta (Milan, Castello Sfor-zesco, 1552, reworked 1563/4) the physical beauty of the human body dissolves away as Michelangelo searches for a new mode by which to convey the religious emotion of his old age; the radiant classicism of his earlier work is replaced by an expressionism which is almost Gothic.
Michelangelo's art is scarcely as important for the development of the classical tradition as
that of Raphael who, we might say, reduced some of Michelangelo's creations from the awe-inspiring to the safely grand. Often, the greater power of Michelangelo's art led imitators to copy the form of his individual figures, but to miss the spirit completely. Raphael, on the other hand, provided a selection of figures and compositional structures covering a much wider range of human activity and emotion.460 For this reason, Michelangelo's influence in Italy, France462'469 and England475 is broader in the Mannerist,457 Baroque and Romantic periods than in the seventeenth-century classical revival or under Neoclassicism, when his manner was thought of as too powerful.459
Titian and Roman classicism
It is tendentious to introduce Venetian art into a survey of classicism for, in spite of the abundant interest of Venetian artists in the antique,489"91'495 their work is founded in light, colour, atmosphere and the exploration of the senses rather than in the formal and intellectual qualities which generate Roman art of the High Renaissance. Thus, in spite of the evident geometry of Giorgione's Castel-
franco Madonna (1504, Castelfranco), it is the pervasive light and gentle reverie which govern the painting, which is so different from contemporary creations by Raphael or Michelangelo. However, something must be said of Titian, because his achievement was to be seen by future centuries as a very successful mixture of the colour of Venice and the form of Rome (just as Correggio was thought a conflation of Raphael and Michelangelo).493 It was reasonably believed that such a unification represented a manner almost as worthy of imitation as that of Raphael, even by artists more interested in classicism than in Titian's pro to-Baroque bravura and compositions.
Titian, like Raphael, left an oeuvre of bewildering range, and his much longer life ensured a greater variety of style. Throughout his working life, from c. 1505 to his death in 1576, his interest in the antique waxed and waned, as did his attachment to developments in Rome. Vasari stated that Titian did not study the Ancients; in fact he did, but for reasons different from those common to students of classicism. Titian was an intensely sensual artist whose interest in the subtleties of the mind was small. He produced nothing like the
School of Athens, for he saw Antiquity not as a collection of ideas but as an arsenal of forms and poses which he could plunder in his search for ways of expressing physical vigour, emotional intensity and vibrant movement.488 Like Michelangelo, he was fascinated by the Laocoon (of which he had a cast by c. 1520). He studied the priest and his sons from every possible angle, and made use of the group in many more of his pictures than is usually realized. (Rubens did likewise.492) There are numerous examples of the re-use of antique art in his work, but no evidence of the exacting scholarship of the antique shown by Raphael.496-497 For Titian, Antiquity seems to have evoked not the splendour of Rome, but the voluptuousness of splendid bodies in an idyllic setting.494 In this respect, his early mythologies are no different from those that he painted late in his life for Philip II of Spain. Sometimes he increases the nostalgia by the addition of semi-ruins, as in Diana and Actaeon (Duke of Sutherland), where the huntsman happens on a scene which might have come from the Hypnerotomachia Polifili of 1499. That amazing book, printed in Venice, a mixture of love-story and architectural fantasy, set the tone for the whole Venetian attitude toward the past. For in spite of his close and scholarly interest in the monuments of ancient Rome, the unknown illustrator of the Hypnerotomachia transformed everything he saw into fantasy; Titian, with the ruined arch, the washing line, and the semi-sunken sarcophagus of the Diana and Actaeon, does much the same.
Such make-believe, presented with brilliant technique and luscious colouring, was to entrance later artists. Equally important to posterity were the compositional innovations of Titian's great altarpieces, which might almost have been produced in competition with those of the Roman High Renaissance. His Assumption of the Virgin of 1516-18 in the Frari Church, Venice, is of the same date and basic construction as Raphael's Sistine Madonna, but employs a double zig-zag to add vigour to the composition. The same structure appears in the Pesaro Altar of eight years later in the same church, but cleverly canted to one side. The
Titian: Assumption of the Virgin, 1516-18,
ideas in these two works were to be the staff of life to Baroque artists.
Was Titian at all interested in contemporary art in Rome ? Several of his works clearly owe a debt to Michelangelo and, in one case, the Danae of 1545/6 (Museo Nazionale, Naples), he even painted a figure in a Michelangelesque manner. He was on a visit to Rome at the time, and the work might have been by way of a demonstration that he could match the Romans when he so wished. And from about 1560 reminiscences of Raphael and Michelangelo are particularly strong, as in the Transfiguration in S. Salvatore, Venice (c. 1560), which indicates a study of Raphael's version and of his Sistine Madonna.
Such comparisons, the more they are pursued, serve only to separate Titian and the whole of Venetian art from the classical tradition. We need only to observe, as it were, the historical company the Venetians were to
keep: Rubens and the Baroque, Watteau, Delacroix, Courbet—the family of flesh-painters, as Zola was to remark. Nevertheless, Titian's achievement impressed the Carracci and Poussin almost as much as it impressed Rubens. His lack of Mannerism, in the Roman sense, made him, like Correggio, a reinvigorat-ing force in seventeenth-century art.
Classicism and Mannerism: the growth of academies
What was the inheritance of classicism for the sixteenth century? We have seen the answer in embryo in some of the works of Michelangelo498 and Raphael, when reason and understatement are abandoned, when meaning loses its clarity, and when there is no logical connection between the meaning of a work and the forms within it. We might say that sometimes High Renaissance artists, invigorated by the grandeur of their own classical style, inflated classicism into something totally different. The modern term for the result is 'Mannerism', from the Italian word maniera, meaning 'style'. It is a term even more vague than 'Baroque' or 'Gothic', and scholars have found difficulty in establishing its relationship not only to Renaissance classicism, but also to the traumatic Sack of Rome and to the Counter-Reformation with its religious revival.505
There are three basic theses concerning the way in which classicism and mannerism are related.507 The first, and the least tenable, is that mannerism is a violent reaction against everything represented by classicism: disorder replaces order, vagueness replaces precision, and profusion replaces restraint.508 The characterization is correct, but the idea of reaction is difficult to maintain, as a reading of the Third Part of Vasari's Lives demonstrates; that perceptive commentator on style, himself an artist, found no decisive break between the early and the mid-Cinquecento. The second thesis sees mannerism as a constant current in the arts, co-existing with the impulse to classicism and called now Gothic, now Baroque;499 how to give chapter and verse for such a broad notion? The third thesis is less likely than the other two to introduce the element of religious reform, or the 'shock' of the Sack of Rome, for its proponents see sufficient seeds of mannerism in work by Michelangelo and Raphael before 1520 to explain mannerism as an obvious development of tendencies inherent in the classical style.506 The enormous prestige of the High Renaissance achievement 'stood between the Maniera painter and the world of nature like a screen', states Freedberg, and he goes on to detect in the refined idealism and abstraction of mannerist art the 'characteristics of a fin de race'.500
Indeed, the respect of the later sixteenth century for the High Renaissance is amply demonstrated by the growth of a new type of institution which helped to underpin the classical tradition well into the twentieth century—the academy of art.504 The Middle Ages had viewed accomplishment in art as the result of long apprenticeship and painstaking application. The High Renaissance attitude (as
exemplified in the remarks of Leonardo), was that the art of painter or sculptor was worthy to rank with the liberal arts, being related more to the intellect than to the hands. The work of men like Titian and Raphael made it clear that art was a career as worthy as philosophy or letters, partly because it drew on such intellectual disciplines. There were no formal academies during the fifteenth century; artists were trained in the shops of their masters, where they might try their hand at all manner of artistic tasks, but this was not what we would call an academic education. The first academy with a fixed regime for the education of artists was Giorgio Vasari's Accademia del Disegno in Florence,502 founded about 1560, and referred to by the Grand Duke in 1563 as una sapienza—a university. From the emphasis on drawing (disegno), and the stipulated lectures on anatomy and geometry, together with the attention given by teachers to correcting 'faults' in pupils' work, it is evident that Vasari saw his brainchild as a practical extension of the ideas promoted in his Lives. The mannerist academies—and this is a demonstration that there was no break with classicism in contemporary eyes—all looked back to the High Renaissance rather than forward in an earnest attempt to continue and build upon that tradition.501'503
Such, indeed, was the main intent of all academies of art until well into the nineteenth century: they were teaching institutions, and they saw in the classical tradition an approach to art which was teachable because it was rationalistic. Classicism, with its interest in antique literature as well as antique art, in geometry and mathematics, in the things of the intellect rather than of the senses, is eminently teachable. So austere were mannerist pretensions for the education of students that Federico Zuccari, in about 1575/8, wished to stiffen the programme of Vasari's Academy with more theory, which he claimed had been neglected. He suggested mathematics and physics, and the establishment of a class in life-drawing. In 1582, Ammanati proposed lectures on perspective and composition. Apparently no such reforms were carried out until 1593, when Zuccari founded the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, and with it the structure which has lasted to this day. Disegno was its mainstay, concentrating on the parts of the body studied first in casts after the antique, and then in life; finally, the whole body was studied as a unit. As with Vasari's brainchild, more seems to have been promised than was carried through, but it was from the example of the Accademia di San Luca that a really strong organization, the French Academic de Peinture, was founded in 1654. We shall see (pp. 173ff., below)that this Academy, and its sister foundations, exercised a strong hold over French artistic life, and provided the State with conventional and hence predictable artists working in a highly codified manner which, taught as it were by the State, usually satisfied the authorities by its approved orthodoxy.
Academies, in other words, flourished because the productions of their subsidized artists were predictable; to work in an approved manner alone spelt success in the form of lucrative State commissions. Their foundation in the various countries of Europe, and in America as well, often represented the moment when a country's art came of age, expressing a desire to revive national art at the well-head of the classical tradition, the art of Italy.