Art and Culture - Module 09 - Renaissance (Late)

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Ninth module for GNED 1201 (Aesthetic Experience and Ideas). This one mainly covers the late or high Renaissance. It begins with the political context of the early 16th Century in Italy. The presentation then focuses in depth on the three great Renaissance masters: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. The presentation ends by trying to make an argument that Raphael is as an artist, the ideal artistic archetype for contemporary students.

This course is a required general education course for all first-year students at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. My version of the course is structured as a kind of Art History and Culture course. Some of the content overlaps with my other Gen Ed course.

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  • Rodrigo Borgias (Pope Alexander VI from 1492-1503) appeared to epitomize the corruption of the Renaissance Catholic Church. There wasn’t a sin that Alexander VI wasn’t willing to sample, whether it be deception, simony, avarice, fornication (he had seven children from his numerous mistresses), treason, violence, murder, even perhaps incest, … His (and his son Cesare Borgia) efforts at creating real political power for his family (and the papacy) was a source of inspiration for Machiavelli. Alexander VI was a great patron of the arts, hiring Michelangelo, Raphael, and others.
  • Machiavelli
  • Or as he appears in Assassin’s Creed
  • Hard to tell from this painting but Julius II was also called the Warrior Pope in that much of his time as Pope was spent engaged in a series of wars and battles against (or allied with) France, Venice, Holy Roman Empire, Florence, Spain, etc.
  • The old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome was built in the time of Constantine (around 330 CE)
  • The dome is the tallest in the world, and its diameter is just a bit smaller than that in Florence. Dome design by Michelangelo and completed after his death in 1590. It uses a similar design as Brunelleschi's (two shells using herringbone bricks reinforced with steel rods). Since the 1800s, the dome has begun to crack and large chains have been wrapped around it to prevent further spreading.
  • By 1500, church had decided it needed to rebuild its franchise church in Rome. The plan was to create the grandest church in Europe.
  • Its monstrous scale can best be seen by looking at its immense piers.
  • Pope Julius II also commissioned Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel as well as the massive Tomb of Julius II which was planned to include over 40 life-sized statues.
  • Julius’s successor was Pope Leo X ( born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medic). Like Julius, much of his reign was focused on warfare. His papacy is associated with the growth in the sale of indulgences (to help fund the on-going Italian Wars, as well as to fund the rebuilding of St. Peter’s) as well as the beginning of the Protestant schism.
  • Also evidently inspired Philip Pullman
  • Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man, c. 1485-90.
  • Leonardo da Vinci. Self-Portrait, after 1500.
  • Michelangelo. Pietà, 1498/9-1500
  • Michelangelo, David, 1501-1504.
  • Michelangelo, Moses, c. 1514
  • Michelangelo, Last Judgment (after cleaning), Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome. 1534-1541
  • Belle jardinière
  • Aldobrandini Madonna
  • The Canigiani Madonna
  • Alba Madonaa
  • Madonna della Seggiola  by Raphael, c. 1514
  • Sistine Madonna
  • Raphael, Madonna of the Meadow, 1505.
  • Raphael, Madonna of the Meadow, 1505.
  • La Muta
  • La Gravida
  • La Velata
  • Bindo Altoviti
  • Portrait of Tommaso Inghirami 
  • Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione
  • Navagero and Beazzano
  • Pope Leo X with two cardinals
  • Raphael, Galatea in situ, Grand Salon, Villa Farnesina,
  • Raphael, The Entombment
  • Sibyls and Angels
  • Art and Culture - Module 09 - Renaissance (Late)

    1. 1. Lecture 9 HIGH RENAISSANCE AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE AND IDEAS
    2. 2. The High Renaissance refers to the apogee (high point) of the visual arts during the Italian Renaissance. It is associated with three artists:
    3. 3. Late/High Renaissance (1500-1550) Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) Michelangelo (1475 – 1564) Raphael (1483 – 1520)
    4. 4. During this time period, the center of artistic excellence had shifted away from Florence and moved to Rome, the home of the Papacy.
    5. 5. A series of cultured, worldly, and wealthy Popes (Alexander VI, Julius II, and Leo X), determined to make Rome the cultural and political capital of Europe, spent lavishly on the military as well as on architecture and the visual arts.
    6. 6. Italian politics in the 16th century were convoluted, pitting city against city, city against the Papal states, and after 1494, the French, and after 1498, the Spanish and German as well. The Italian wars of the 16th century ended up devastating Italy, and it never regained its 14th and 15th century prosperity.
    7. 7. Military Revolution Refers to new began military tactics that in the late Renaissance due to the spread of gunpowder weapons, which maximized the utility of firearms, which in turn led to a need for more trained troops and thus for permanent forces. These changes in turn had major political consequences in the level of administrative support and the supply of money, men and provisions, producing huge new financial demands which in turn eventually led to the creation of new governmental institutions (the nation state).
    8. 8. The spread of gunpowder weapons massively increased the cost and scale of war. No longer was armored cavalry the most important weapon. Instead, mass armies of infantry supported by artillery became progressively more important.
    9. 9. Rodrigo Borgias (Pope Alexander VI from 1492-1503) appeared to epitomize the corruption of the Renaissance Catholic Church. There wasn’t a sin that Alexander VI wasn’t willing to sample, whether it be deception, simony, avarice, fornication (he had seven children from his numerous mistresses), treason, violence, murder, even perhaps incest, …… His (and his son Cesare Borgia) efforts at creating real political power for his family (and the papacy) was a source of inspiration for Machiavelli. Alexander VI was a great patron of the arts, hiring Michelangelo, Raphael, and others.
    10. 10. Machiavelli (1469-1527)
    11. 11. Or as he appears in Assassin’s Creed
    12. 12. Machiavelli was an extraordinarily innovative and influential writer. He is a beautiful stylist and you are not educated unless you have read Machiavelli …
    13. 13. “Since myy intention is to sayy somethingg that will prove to be of practical use to the iinnqquuiirreerr, II hhaavvee tthhoouugghhtt iitt pprrooppeerr ttoo represent things as they are in real truth, ratthher tthhan as tthhey are iimagiinedd.””
    14. 14. “The ggulf between how one should live and how one does live is so wide that a mmaann wwhhoo nneegglleeccttss wwhhaatt iiss aaccttuuaallllyy ddoonnee for what should be done learns the way to sellff ddesttructtiion.””
    15. 15. Contrast this to the accepted view about ethics and politics …
    16. 16. Cicero (106-43 BCE) Roman Senator and writer “HHoonneessttyy iiss tthhee bbeesstt ppoolliiccyy ffoorr effective rule.” “VViirrttuu [[iinn ppoolliittiiccss]] ccoonnssiissttss ooff always acting honorably and morally.”
    17. 17. “For a man who professes goodness at all times wwiillll ccoommee ttoo rruuiinn among so many who are not good.” Machiavelli, The Prince
    18. 18. vs
    19. 19. “I jjudgge it to be true that fortune is the arbiter of one half of our actions but that sshhee lleeaavveess tthhee ccoonnttrrooll ooff tthhee ootthheerr hhaallff ttoo us. … She shows her force where there is organized strength to resist her; and she directs her imppact there where she knows that dikes and embankments are not ccoonnssttrruucctteedd ttoo hhoolldd hheerr.”
    20. 20. “Fortune is a women,, and it is necessaryy,, in order to keep her down, to beat her aanndd ssttrruuggggllee wwiitthh hheerr.”
    21. 21. Some have called Machiavelli the first scientist because of his belief that one must start with observation of the facts of the real world, and then construct one’s theories about action based on those facts (and not based on ethics or religion or tradition).
    22. 22. Pope Leo X 1513-1521 Pope Alexander VI 1492-1503 1503-Pope Julius II 1503 1513
    23. 23. Italian Wars Papal Alliance Opponent 1508‐1510 Papal States France Venice Holy Roman Empire Spain 1510‐1511 Papal States Venice France Julius II , “The Warrior Pope “ 1511‐1513 Papal States France Venice Holy Roman Empire Spain England 1513‐1516 Papal States Holy Roman Empire Venice France Spain England Scotland
    24. 24. The old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome was built in the time of Constantine (around 330 CE)
    25. 25. In the 1510s, the Church under Pope Julius II had decided it needed to rebuild its franchise church in Rome. The plan was to create the grandest church in Europe. A variety of architects worked and reworked the plans over the next 100 years.
    26. 26. St. Peter’s monstrous scale can best be seen by looking at its immense piers.
    27. 27. The piers support the tallest Dome of any Christian church.
    28. 28. St Peter’s dome is the tallest in the world, and its diameter is just a bit smaller than that in Florence. This dome was designed by Michelangelo and completed after his death in 1590. It uses a similar design as Brunelleschi's (two shells using herringbone bricks reinforced with steel rods). Since the 1800s, the dome has begun to crack and large chains have been wrapped around it to prevent further spreading.
    29. 29. The piazza in front of the church was designed by baroque artist Bernini and constructed much later between 1647 and 1667.
    30. 30. Pope Julius II also commissioned Michelangelo’’s painting of the Sistine Chapel as well as the massive Tomb of Julius II which was planned to include over 40 life-sized statues.
    31. 31. Julius’s successor was Pope Leo X (born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medic). Like Julius, much of his reign was focused on warfare. His papacy is associated with the growth in the sale of indulgences (to help fund the on-going Italian Wars and to fund the rebuilding of St. Peter’s) as well as the beginning of the Protestant schism.
    32. 32. Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)
    33. 33. “Leonardo da Vinci united physical beauty and infinite grace in all his actions and as for his talent, no matter what difficulty presented itself, he solved it without effort. In him dexterity was allied to exceeding great strength; his spirit and his courage showed something kingly and magnanimous.” -- Vasari, The Lives of the Artists
    34. 34. Leonardo was born out of wedlock to a peasant woman in the town of Vinci outside of Florence. His father was an aristocrat from Florence. At the age of 14, his father moved Leonardo to Florence and paid for him to become an apprentice in the workshop of Verrocchio, Florence’s leading painter (Verrocchio has been a student of Botticelli).
    35. 35. Leonardo as a teenager was said to be the model for Verrocchio’s David sculpture.
    36. 36. Verrocchio, Baptism of Christ 1470 Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest known painting (18 yrs old) is this angel
    37. 37. Vasari tells us that after having seen the kneeling angel painted by Leonardo, Verrocchio, in despair, threw down his brushes and gave up painting
    38. 38. Leonardo da Vinci, The Annunciation, 1472-5 Considered to be his first complete work, it shows that Leonardo was still learning (e.g., the perspective of the front of the lectern is wrong) but has touches of brilliance (the finger in the book, the atmospheric effects).
    39. 39. Soon after being charged for sodomy, Leonardo left Florence and ended up in Milan working for the Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, where he worked not only as a painter, but also as a sculptor, military architect , and, later in 1502, when we returned to Florence and worked for Caeasr Borgia, he also worked as an engineer, map maker, and spy.
    40. 40. Sketch for a giant crossbow, Leonardo, ca. 1480
    41. 41. Much like Machiavelli, Leonardo believed truth was to be discovered by the close observation of nature as it is.
    42. 42. Leonardo, Adoration of the Magi (unfinished) 1481 In this revolutionary early work, we see many of Da Vinci’s characteristic approaches: 1. Use of shadow and atmospheric perspective. 2. Naturalized Mary and Jesus 3. The use of geometric principles in design.
    43. 43. Leonardo da Vinci painted two versions of this work : Virgin of the Rocks
    44. 44. Leonardo, Virgin of the Rocks 1483 The use of atmospheric perspective, which is created via his revolutionary technique of sfumato, (or smoke) which involves creating several layers of color on a painting in order to enhance the perception of depth. Another of his innovations is chiaroscuro: the use of strong contrasts between light and dark as a way to achieve volume, especially with human figures (i.e., make them look more 3D in appearance).
    45. 45. Leonardo da Vinci described sfumato as "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane”
    46. 46. Leonardo’s other visual technique, chiaroscuro, becomes extraordinarily influential as a technique for creating the illusion of depth / 3D.
    47. 47. Prior to Leonardo, almost all female portraits were in profile, while most men looked directly at the viewer with the body in ¾ pose. Occasionally, female portraits used the standard male pose (and vice versa).
    48. 48. Leonardo, Lady with an Ermine 1489 The subject of the portrait is identified as Cecilia Gallerani, and was probably painted at a time when she was the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and Leonardo was in the service of the Duke. At the time of her portrait, Cecilia was about sixteen. She was one of a large family, neither rich nor noble. Her father served for a time at the Duke's court. Cecilia was renowned for her beauty, her scholarship, and her poetry. She was betrothed at the age of about ten years to a young nobleman of the house of Visconti, but the marriage was called off. Cecilia became the mistress of the Duke and bore him a son. The ermine was a traditional symbol of purity because it was believed an ermine would face death rather than soil its white coat. The Duke’s motto was “better to die than be sullied”, so the ermine is also a stand-in for the Duke. Yet the chaste sentiment of the ermine is contradicted by its phallic appearance and her embrace of it. The painting’s chiaroscuro, its triangular spiral, and the way it looks as if Cecilia is caught listening to a conversation, all makes this one of Da Vinci’s greatest works.
    49. 49. Leonardo, La Belle Ferroniere 1490 The subject of the portrait is unknown, though a recent exhibition identified her as Beatrice d'Este, wife of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. Like with the Lady with Ermine, this portrait demonstrates Leonardo ‘s ability to capture psychological states.
    50. 50. Leonardo, Last Supper 1495-8
    51. 51. Chapel containing the Last Supper was badly damaged during the Second World War.
    52. 52. The Last Supper, ca. 1520, by Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli, who worked with Leonardo, and who made this same-size oil reproduction when it became clear that Leonardo’s original was deteriorating quickly.
    53. 53. Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480 Pietro Perugino, 1490 Unlike other paintings of the Last Supper, which had Judas visually separated from the others, in Da Vinci’s version, Judas is integrated in with the rest.
    54. 54. Given the importance of the number three in Christianity (due to the Trinity) there are many triangles and groupings of three in the work.
    55. 55. Leonardo, La Gioconda (Mona Lisa) 1500-1504 Vasari claims that this work was never finished. Regardless of that, this work was especially influential on Raphael (who we will talk about later)
    56. 56. Marcel Duchamp, LHOOQ 1919 LHOOQ: when read out loud in French, it sounds like "Elle a chaud au cul" which literally translated is: "she has a hot ass"
    57. 57. According to Vasari, Leonardo claimed that he said that “he never finished anything in my life,” and indeed much of his contemporary reputation as a Renaissance Man (i.e., someone who is excellent at many things), is due to our knowledge of his notebooks which contain many unfinished works of brilliance and acute almost scientific observation.
    58. 58. Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man, c. 1485-90. Generally considered an example of how Leonardo saw the proportions of the human body as representative of the higher order of the universe (remember the social and moral meaning Renaissance artists attributed to linear perspective).
    59. 59. Leonardo da Vinci. Self-Portrait, c. 1512.
    60. 60. Much of what we know of Leonardo’s person life comes from Vasri, who wrote of Da Vinci’s "outstanding physical beauty", "infinite grace", "great strength and generosity", "regal spirit and tremendous breadth of mind“. One such aspect is his respect for life evidenced by his vegetarianism and his habit, according to Vasari, of purchasing caged birds and releasing them. His sexuality has been the subject of satire, analysis, and speculation. This trend began in the mid-16th century and was revived in the 19th and 20th centuries (he was charged with sodomy in 1476 but the charges were dropped).
    61. 61. Leonardo da Vinci. John the Baptist, c. 1514 The model Gian Oreno, who was nicknamed Salai (““the little unclean one”) was a student of Leonardo and lived in his household for 30 years.
    62. 62. “Lo splendor dell’ aria sua, che bellissimo era, rissereneva ogni animo mesto” (the splendour of his aspect, which was beautiful beyond measure, rejoiced in the most sorrowful souls). -- Vasari, conclusion of his chapter on Leonardo in the The Lives of the Artists
    63. 63. Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)
    64. 64. Michelangelo has been famous from his lifetime to the present day, and he worked hard promoting himself to his contemporaries as the paradigm of artistic genius.
    65. 65. His early development happened while apprenticed to the Florentine painter Ghirlandaio and later to a Medici-sponsored arts academy, were he studied sculpture.
    66. 66. Interestingly, Michelangelo actively attempted to suppress knowledge of his painting experience: it conflicted with his story that he had never painted prior to his Sistine Chapel … that is, his self-presentation as a genius who could paint wonders with no prior experience or training.
    67. 67. In 1496, at the age of 21, Michelangelo travelled to Rome. A few years later after he created one of his masterpieces, the Pieta.
    68. 68. Michelangelo. Pietà, 1498/9-1500
    69. 69. Leonardo’s drapery studies from 1480 that were in the Ghirlandaio studio when Michelangelo was apprenticed there.
    70. 70. Another of Leonardo’s drapery studies
    71. 71. Vasari tells a story that days after it was placed in St. Peter’s church in Rome, Michelangelo overhead someone said the work was by Solari, a rival sculptor. In anger that night, he carved "Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, mad[e me]" on the sash across her chest. This is the only work he ever signed.
    72. 72. Other art historians see the self-conscious unfinished signature "Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, mad[e me]" as a way to turn the work from a devotional image into a Work of Art by Michelangelo™ (btw, Leonardo never signed any of his works)
    73. 73. On May 21, 1972 a mentally disturbed geologist named Laszlo Toth walked into St. Peter’s and attacked the sculpture with a geologist's hammer while shouting "I am Jesus Christ.“ Onlookers took many of the pieces of marble that flew off. Later, some pieces were returned, but many were not, including Mary's nose, which had to be reconstructed from a block cut out of her back.
    74. 74. Michelangelo success with the Pieta led to his triumph with the David in Florence.
    75. 75. Michelangelo, David, 1501-1504.
    76. 76. The commission stipulated that the sculpture be created from a gigantic single block of marble that had recently been transported to Florence.
    77. 77. What does it mean? Why would the city of Florence commission a huge and expensive statue of David?
    78. 78. Its location was going to be the top of the Florentine Dome, but instead was placed outside of the Palazzo Vecchio, the center of the Republic’s government.
    79. 79. Is this David after killing Goliath, or before?
    80. 80. Piece of graffiti attributed to Michelangelo on the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence
    81. 81. Vasari in his chapter on Michelangelo, documents Michelangelo’s anti-social disposition: moody, irritable, chronically suspicious of others, ultra-competitive, convinced others were scheming to kill him, and spectacularly unkempt. He followed his father’’s advice to never wash, and wore pants made from dog’s skin that he never cleaned nor changed.
    82. 82. Vasari does his best to turn these characteristics into heroic attributes. He interprets them as characteristics of The Artist™ whose mind is focused on creating Higher Things™ and whose brilliance is not able to be appreciated by us lesser mortals concerned with mundane things like hygiene and manners.
    83. 83. Like with his portrait of Brunelleschi, Vasari’s portrayal of Michelangelo helped define what posterity expected artists to be like, as well as help create the stereotypical idea of genius artists being too complex and too lofty for most people to understand or fully appreciate.
    84. 84. Of course, these stereotypes of The Artist™ are just that, stereotypes. Michelangelo, for instance, while slovenly, was, like perhaps any business person, concerned about maximizing his income.
    85. 85. Michelangelo, Tondo Doni 1506-1508
    86. 86. When the Doni was completed, the patron balked at paying the requested payment of 70 ducats. Instead he gave the delivery man 40 ducats to give to Michelangelo. Michelangelo returned the 40 along with a note demanding 100 ducats now. The patron instead sent 70. Michelangelo returned the money telling him the cost was now 140 ducats. The patron paid the 140.
    87. 87. The Doni is also important for being Michelangelo’s only finished panel painting for its explicit rejection of Leonardo’s aesthetic.
    88. 88. Leonardo da Vinci Virgin and Child with St. Anne 1510
    89. 89. Compare the femininity of Mary in the Doni in comparison to Leonardo’s Mary. Notice the muscularity and athleticism of Mary in Michelangelo’s version. Michelangelo in fact used male models for his female painted figures
    90. 90. So why the masculine and athletic Mary? Perhaps he was trying to represent Mary’s spiritual virility. Perhaps he was also trying to exempt her from his own society’s oppression of women … as well as trying to shield her from inappropriate connotations of female sexuality.
    91. 91. Leonardo’s Mary is not only realistic, she is beautiful, motherly and tender, Michelangelo’s Mary is almost , y , disengaged from her child; she is representative of his society’s gendered attitudes towards the ideal of womenhood. g g ; worshipful rather than motherly, holding up the Child in a way reminiscent of a priest holding up the Eucharist during mass. She is thus a symbol rather than a person.
    92. 92. Between 1508 and 1512, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (this is the private chapel for the Pope and is attached to St. Peters in Rome).
    93. 93. Michelangelo, Ceiling Sistine Chapel, c. 1508-1512 Contains nine scenes from the Book of Genesis of which the Creation of Adam is the best known. It contains 343 different figures.
    94. 94. Separation of Light from Darkness
    95. 95. The Creation of the Sun and the Moon
    96. 96. Separating Land from Water
    97. 97. Creation of Adam
    98. 98. Creation of Eve
    99. 99. Temptation and Expulsion
    100. 100. Sacrifice of Noah
    101. 101. Noah and the Flood
    102. 102. The Drunkenness of Noah
    103. 103. The ceiling also contains numerous trompe l'oeil effects (i.e., creating optical illusion that things in the painting actually exist in 3d space)
    104. 104. Michelangelo, Moses, c. 1514
    105. 105. Michelangelo, Last Judgment Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome. 1534-1541
    106. 106. Raphael (1483 – 1520)
    107. 107. Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and despite his death at 37, a large body of his work remains.
    108. 108. Raphael was apprenticed in the painter Perugino’s workshop as a young teenager.
    109. 109. Raphael self-portrait as a young teenager
    110. 110. Perugino at the time was consider Italy’s foremost painter. His style, with its sweet calm faces, Raphael quickly mastered. Indeed, we know of several of Perugino’s works in which Raphael painted some or indeed most of the work and yet even today experts are uncertain as to which parts were painted by whom.
    111. 111. Perugino
    112. 112. Perugino
    113. 113. At 21, both Raphael and Perugino were contracted to create competing versions of the same scene by the same patron.
    114. 114. The audacity of Raphael placing his signature at the very center of the composition co pos o signifies professional self-awareness of his status as an Artist
    115. 115. Michelangelo tried hard to disguise, deny, and hide the fact that he was influenced by others; instead he wanted contemporaries and posterity to think that he innovated in everything he did. But a large part of Raphael’s uniqueness was not only his ability to be influenced by others, but his willingness to openly experiment with other’s stylistic innovations.
    116. 116. After mastering Perugino’s style, Raphael grew bored, and moved to Florence where he quickly fell under the influence of Leonardo’s paintings of sacred scenes.
    117. 117. Influenced by the above two works, Raphael copied Leonardo’s visual language quickly producing dozens of Madonna paintings, and within that genre, eventually found a way to be creative within its constraints.
    118. 118. Raphael, Madonna of the Meadow, 1505.
    119. 119. One of the features of the later Renaissance is that “common” but wealthy people began to want themselves memorialized in art. So alongside religious and mythological painting, we begin to see the emergence of personal portraits. Leonardo set the aesthetic standard with La Gioconda …
    120. 120. After seeing Leonardo’s La Gioconda while it was still a work in progress, Raphael quickly painted (within a year) a wide variety of portraits under its influence. Recall that Leonardo spent 4 years on his painting …
    121. 121. After quickly producing a wide variety of variations of the La Gioconda, Raphael then went significantly beyond Da Vinci’s work, creating a wide range of superb portraits that in many ways became the paradigm for portraits for the next 400 years. Each one encapsulates a real individual within the portrait constraints created by Leonardo in his La Gioconda.
    122. 122. Michelangelo and Raphael were both in Rome painting different parts of the Sistine Chapel for Pope Julius (the pope had gathered more than 50 artists to work on different projects). Michelangelo tried his best to “hide” his ceiling painting from Raphael. The story in Vasari is that when Michelangelo was forced to leave the city, Raphael snuck in to examine the ceiling.
    123. 123. And once again, Raphael used it as an opportunity to try new things …
    124. 124. Perhaps no other painting represents the changing nature of the attitude towards to the nude during the Italian Renaissance than does Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.
    125. 125. Other artists, especially those hired by the papal court in Rome (and later also by the merchants in Venice), appear to have been unmoved by Savaronola, and we continue to see classical-inspired themes and an interest in representing the human body. Raphael, Galatea, Rome, c. 1512.
    126. 126. The Triumph of Galatea was painted by Raphael for the Villa Farnesina in Rome, which was built for the Sienese banker Agostino Chigi, one of the richest men of that age. In the painting, Raphael shows the moment when Galatea, who is in love with a shepherd, is being transformed into a goddess. Rumor was that the model for Galatea was Chigi’s mistress (and Raphael’s lover) Imperia.
    127. 127. Raphael painted a wide range of nudes in the Villa Farnesina, all focused on mythological, rather than Christian scenes, all with a not-very well disguised fixation on bodily pleasures…
    128. 128. Even the fruit seems curiously over-excited …
    129. 129. Vasari claims that Raphael would get so excited as he was painting, that kept leaving to visit his mistress, Margherita Luti. Chigi grew so impatient with the slow progress, that he eventually gave Luti a semi-permanent room in the Villa so that Raphael wouldn’t have to leave.
    130. 130. Raphael. The Fornarina, c. 1518. The woman is traditionally identified with Margherita Luti, Raphael's Roman mistress.
    131. 131. School of Athens, 1509-1510
    132. 132. Plato Aristotle Leonardo
    133. 133. Heraclitus Michelangelo
    134. 134. Raphael, The Deposition 1507
    135. 135. Raphael, The Transfiguration 1520
    136. 136. According to Vasari, Raphael's premature death on his 37th birthday was caused by a night of too much sex …
    137. 137. He is buried in the Pantheon in Rome. The inscription reads: "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die."
    138. 138. Raphael’s reputation today is nowhere near to that of Leonardo or Michelangelo. Yet I think there is much to admire today in his work and in his general style.
    139. 139. In many ways, our understanding of what art is has been too much influenced by Vasari’s account of Brunelleschi, Leonardo and especially of Michelangelo.
    140. 140. Vasari’s view of the artist as a solitary genius creating completely unparalleled and innovative works, created an unrealistic expectation for subsequent artists and distorted what really happens in any artistic endeavor.
    141. 141. Raphael illustrates that all forms of aesthetic experience, whether in the creation or in the consumption, occur within a context of the past and within rules and constraints created by different genres, techniques, and technologies.
    142. 142. True innovation doesn’t occur within a realm of total freedom; rather often the best innovation happens when someone is working within a set of constraints.
    143. 143. This continues to be true …
    144. 144. Take Pablo Picasso for instance … often considered the most influential and innovative artist of the 20th century.
    145. 145. Yet despite his many innovations, he tended to work for extended stretches within a single aesthetic style … testing and retesting a single approach, trying to find improvement and self-expression within tight self-imposed constraints.
    146. 146. Blue period
    147. 147. Red period
    148. 148. African Period
    149. 149. Cubist Period
    150. 150. NeoClassical Period
    151. 151. This is why genre and style was, and continues to be, important for aesthetic experience. Somewhat paradoxically, working within the constraints of a tradition often provides one of the truest ways to create something great but also to discover something new.
    152. 152. Leonardo and Michelangelo are justly famous and beloved for their innovations; but Raphael is also just as beloved for finding innovation by first imitating, and then improving upon.
    153. 153. I think Raphael is a wonderful model for students (and not perhaps the excessively pungent and paranoid Michalengelo). Raphael was always open to observing what others were creating, then he would work very hard learning and then mastering those other ways … and then used that foundation to build his own innovations.
    154. 154. It is the model for what education should be: be willing to learn from others, work hard to master established techniques and knowledge, and then use that mastery to do your own innovation.

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