Seeing things differently
"Most Holy Father, there are many who, on bringing their feeble judgment to bear on what is written concerning the great achievements of the Romans —the feats of arms, the city of Rome and the wondrous skill shown in the opulence, ornamentation and grandeur of their buildings— have come to the conclusion that these achievements are more likely to be fables than facts. I, however, have always seen —and still do see— things differently." Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known as Raphael, wrote in his letter to pope Leo X
His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking.
The exquisite depiction of the Virgin and Child above is drawn in silverpoint – a technique which uses small rods of pure silver to make marks with an iridescent sheen. It’s one of a series made by the artist after he moved to Rome in 1508 to complete a fresco in the Pope’s private library in the Vatican – he was only 25 at the time.
Notes: The drawing and the relevant information is taken from The British Museum. // The National Gallery of Art in Washington, to honour his 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael, has launched a 360 virtual tour of the exhibition "Raphael and His Circle" which allows you to read wall texts, listen to the audio tour, watch related video clips and learn more about the artist's drawings and the influence he had in his lifetime, and after his death. You can exlpore the full tour here.