Sorry for the hiatus, but one has to earn a living- and this took a lot of time. Be warned; it’s a long post, but I did call this series the full picture.
“But while the process of invention can, to a certain extent, be reconstructed upstream, such is not the case closer to its final issue; unlike other pieces engraved by Marcantonio, the Judgement of Paris left no trace in the painted work of Raphael. This fact merits our attention, given that the comparison of engravings and finished works can often be quite instructive.”
The Lost Painting.
Marcantonio Raimondi (after Raphael), The Judgement of Paris, engraving, c. 1517-18. Raphael, St Cecilia, 1514, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna. Marcantonio Raimondi, (after Raphael), St Cecilia, engraving, c. 1514.
Actually Damisch did refer to a painting: a grisaille (monochrome) of the same subject beneath the fresco of Parnassus, which must have some connection with the more celebrated composition known via the engraving, so we can journey “downstream” from this towards the “final issue” of Raphael’s invention. Jones and Penny dated this small painted Judgement 1512-13 and noted it resembled the more classical relief style. Jones and Penny also observed that the “composition of the Judgement of Paris design was expanded, “perhaps in two stages, and certainly with work in different styles.” Gradually, over time, the composition was extended further to include a landscape inhabited by a river god, nymphs, woodland creatures; finally, a celestial vault ruled over by Jupiter and his court was added- all far beyond the basic scheme and demonstrating Raphael’s restless invention.
|Raphael, The Expulsion of Heliodorus, 1511-12, Stanza della Elidoro, Vatican, Rome, fresco.|
Jones and Penny’s hypothesis was that additions made to the 1517-18 Judgement of Paris, may reflect the influence of figure placement in painted schemes like the Expulsion of Heliodorus. In passing, it should be pointed out that the figure of Heliodorus in the above fresco seems modelled on the celebrated reclining statue of the river Tiber which was discovered in 1512; a river god based upon it later appears in Raimondi’s engraving.
|Statue of the River Tiber, discovered in 1512.||Paris from Malmesbury Judgement of Paris, 1512.|
It’s logical to assume that changes would have occurred along the way; this is how Raphael thinks with the pen in his hand, even completely transforming designs in mid stream. Assuming that he painted the Malmesbury picture, he may applied his transformative skills in creating that work. In the words of GC:
“In this painting, Paris’s left pointing hand of “Judgement” was altered to portray the immediate moment after his fateful decision of Judgement, rather than as he had earlier depicted it, holding the award of the Golden Apple towards Venus as more traditionally seen, such as in the Marcantomio engraving. Accordingly the Golden Apple has been transferred to his clenched right hand, whilst the originally clenched left hand has been re-modelled to a pointing gesture, with a further later extension to the length of the left index finger.”
In considering these pictorial manoeuvres, it is worth bearing in mind a critical statement concerning gesture and pose in Raphael’s drawings, made by John Shearman – “Raphael learned the expressive possibilities of the slightest modification of pose, the potential of movement and the arrangements of the hands as indicators of character and mood.” Lisa Pon coined the term “graphic intelligence” to explain Raphael’s compositional processes where he seeks for a solution through his restless striving for the perfect composition. “Graphic intelligence” was derived from Svetlana Alpers and Michael Baxandall’s “pictorial intelligence”, which Pon defines as “Resolutely visual and independent of textual concerns, a given artist’s pictorial intelligence shapes the decisions he or she makes in producing a picture, and even frames the alternatives from which these choices can be made.”
Drawing into Engraving.
Luca Penni (after Raphael), The Judgement of Paris, Petit Palais, Paris, c. 1517?
Penni entered Raphael’s studio in 1515, and according to John Shearman his job was to act in a “secretarial” capacity, making visual records (ricordi) of Raphael’s compositions. Raphael would eventually trust Penni to draw the important modello for the Transfiguration, based presumably on the master’s original thought for that painting. Penni’s drawing might be considered a compositional study for the Judgement of Paris print, but that’s probably not the case. It might be better to regard Penni’s drawing as a record of the print albeit with his own stylistic flourishes, like the mannerist, tapered limbs of the women which are as far from Raphael as one can get.
Detail of Raimondi’s engraving.
The Leda Factor
“Raphael was more interested in Leda’s pose….the extreme contrapposto which he was able to study in the works of Leonardo and Michelangelo. It had an instantaneous and lasting effect on his art.”
Tom Henry, Raphael exhibition, 2004.
|Raphael, (after Leonardo da Vinci), Leda, Royal Library, Windsor, c. 1508.|
The results of Raphael’s researches into Leda can be seen in such paintings as the London St. Catherine (1507) and the Rome Galatea (1512), but can the spirit of Leonardo’s Leda also be discerned in the Malmesbury painting, as the authors state in their report? According to Paul Joannides, the central woman in the Malmesbury painting has the same contrapossto pose as the figure of Eve in an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi, dated by Joannides to 1510- see below. AHT doesn’t see any reason to doubt a connection between the Malmesbury Venus and the print of the Adam and Eve. The undulating curve is the same; the position of the feet and the legs match.
|Marcantonio Raimondi (after Raphael), Lucretia, c. 1510-11.|
Thanks to the work of Raphael scholars, especially Lisa Pon, we know more about the working relationship between Raphael and Raimondi at the time that the Adam and Eve print was created. A number of engravings by Raimondi (based on Raphael’s designs) from the same time –1510-11-show tragic females from history, Lucretia and Dido, and they also betray Raphael’s study of Leonardo’s Leda. The crucial question to be posed here is whether the Leda pose of Eve, which is clearly a result of Raphael’s researches into that subject, and given the matching pose of Venus in the Malmesbury picture, supports the attribution. At the very least it reinforces a link between the painting and Raphael’s workshop. A counter-argument would be that Raimondi’s Adam and Eve print was made without Raphael’s involvement, in which case the printmaker brought the design from Venice where he might have detected it in examples of mythology in that city, although as pointed out in the first post, there aren’t many painted examples of the subject in Venice in the early 1500s for Raimondi to have known. What also undermines that argument is that it was Raphael who became fixated on the Leda as a way of exploring the poses of his protagonists, not Raimondi. And for what it’s worth, AHT has always believed that these nudes didn’t originate in Venetian art.
|Marcantonio Raimondi (after Raphael), Adam and Eve, 1511-12., engraving||Malmesbury Venus compared to physiognomy and pose of Eve.|
|Profile comparisons of the two goddesses in print and painting.|
Graeme Cameron also states:
“It should also be noted that the physiognomies and juxtaposition of the two focal Goddesses (Hera and Venus) nearest to Paris, in the engraving are clearly comparable and share related physiognomies to those of the women in the Malmesbury Judgement of Paris, more so than any other known source. The engraving also shows the Paris figure seated in a higher position with a more severe contrapposto, as derived from a classical Medici relief. By contrast, in the painting Paris adopts a very similar pose and position to that of the engraving’s “River God”, but in the opposite corner and in reverse.”
Finally, despite the “Venetian” character of the Malmesbury Judgement of Paris, it has a general relief-like style which is consistent with the more well-known engraving.
“This same concern over distinguishing, within the body of work bearing Raphael’s name, between its autograph portion and that executed by assistants would lead connoisseurs- beginning with the most prominent among them, the celebrated Morelli, whose work and methods were of interest to Freud- to considerably reduce the number of works distilling, in its pure state, the essence of his art, a matter that would largely reduce itself to the question of “hands.”
It is significant that when the name of Morelli is invoked by Damisch, it is both a sign of connoisseurship and an expression of the artist’s working practice, as transmitted through the agency of the hands. Hands within Raphael studies can allude to the method of disentangling Raphael’s own productions from his pupils and followers-connoisseurship; or hands can also refer to the parts of the body that produce the art through “graphic intelligence.” Perhaps this re-configuration of Morelli suggests that his morphological approach- memorably called by one wit, the “ear and toenail school”- has little currency in Raphael studies today. In any case the Morellian method is too schematic and ineffective given the broad physiognomic variations between figures in renaissance painting. It is not flawless as was revealed with a Morellian analysis applied to the Malmesbury Judgement of Paris over on Three Pipe Problem recently.
“Some visual nuances are keenly observed in the article at Art History Today. What is omitted however are some smaller anatomical and compositional nuances. These need to be mentioned as potentially uncharacteristic of Raphael, so consistently astute in rendering models. Looking specifically at the semi-nude on the far right, the two points worth drawing attention are the rendering of head in profile compared to the rotation of the trunk, and the left foot, whose scale seems disproportionate. The overall harmony of the grouping is pleasing enough, but arguably lacks the grace Raphael was able to accomplish at this stage of his career.”
Raphael, The Three Graces, Museé Condé, Chantilly, 1504-5. Comparison of respective foot depictions and modelling of bodies in Three Graces and Malmesbury Judgement of Paris. Drawing comparison with Raphael’s distinctive rendering of feet.
“We in the digital age would metaphorically call this procedure of reusing figures from one drawing to in another one “cut and paste.” In fact that metaphor comes from our process of literally cutting or tearing apart a sheet of paper and gluing it onto another surface. This process first became widely practiced in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when printed images were often silhouetted and passed into books, boxes, or walls…Raphael actively cut or tore his drawings to advance his compositions.”
Another concern of TPP was the absence of a preparatory study for the Malmesbury painting, which is fair comment as any art historian worth their salt would try to substantiate an attribution claim with relatable drawings. Well, it’s probably unwise to regard Penni’s individualistic drawing as a preparatory study- see above. However, there are drawings of female nudes, Venus, some based on the Leda, in existence. One of these is the so-called “Venus and the Vintagers”, a nude trio drawing in the Ashmoleon in pen with plumb lines. Unfortunately this sheet is difficult to read, either due to its state or the reproduction. It isn’t reproduced here as it’s too faint, but Joannides catalogue can be accessed here. It would be interesting to go to Oxford to see it. To quote from Joannides’s catalogue raisonné of Raphael drawings:
“Presumably en suite with cat. 135 r. (Three Musicians, a satyr playing a horn, a muse (?) playing a harp, Apollo ( ?) playing a viol da braccio) for a decorative panel, perhaps for a piece of furniture. The accent is very much on the contour and the rhythmical relations of the figures. The nymph on the left echoes Leda (cat. 98, the Windsor drawing of Leda), the movement of that of the child on the right in cat. 120 (Louvre study for Belle Jardinière). The faun in the centre is reminiscent of Signorelli’s Kingdom of Pan” [sadly lost].
Cherchez la femme.
“To paint a figure truly beautiful, I should see many beautiful forms, with the further provision that you should yourself be present to choose the most beautiful. But good judges and beautiful women being rare, I avail myself of certain ideas which come to my mind. If this idea has any excellence in art I know not, though I labour heartily to acquire it.” Raphael in a letter from Rome to Baldassare Castiglione, 1514. Quoted in Rachel Le Goff, formal research on The Dream of Joseph, 2011, italics mine. Le Goff notes that “here Raphael is speaking in relation to a female model for his Galatea in the Farnesina…”
|Raphael, Portrait of a Young Woman, “La Fornarina”, 1518-19, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome.|
The question of Raphael’s relations with women has not been resolved though scholarship has progressed beyond Vasari’s risible claim that Raphael died of lovemaking. Yet Vasari’s comment has been useful in prompting inquiry into how Raphael’s amorous activities impacted on his workshop procedures and vice versa. Focusing more on the relationship between Raphael’s loves and the workshop, Konrad Oberhuber has pondered the problem of Raphael’s models, not least the “social problem of seeing a female body in the nude within the culture of 17th century Rome.” As noted above there is a drawing in which a female model is posed in the manner of a classical Venus, which the authors of the report maintain has connections with the Malmesbury nudes. Assuming that the Malmesbury painting is a product of Raphael’s workshop protocols- and the evidence is mounting that it is- it wouldn’t be out of place to connect the drawings of nudes catalogued by Joannides with the painting. However, the real test comes with the assertion that one of the women in the Malmesbury painting has the features of “La Fornarina”, Raphael’s famous inamorata, immortalised in a painting which Joanne G. Bernstein calls the “most extraordinary” result of Raphael’s studies into the female model, accounting for “ the physicality, fullness and sensuality” of the woman. As Bernstein also observes, “La Fornarina” is a type as well as a portrait that derives from classical mythology. The raised hand and the lowered hand refer to her gender, and more specifically the antique statue of the Venus Pudica. The Pudica pose is hinted at the Malmesbury picture with the woman (Juno), the figure said to have the features of “La Fornarina”, who raises her hand up to her breast.This arm pose pose occurs in other Raphael works shown here for comparison.
|Left, study for St Catherine (Louvre, c. 1507) ; bottom, study for St Catherine (Louvre, c. 1507); top right, Faith (Vatican, c. 1507), bottom right, Study for St Catharine (Ashmoleon, c. 1507).|
Though she doesn’t have the dropped arm, her companion Venus, does. Combined, they make a Pudica figure although Venus herself – in the centre- turns her body slightly towards Paris.* This merging of the two focal goddesses may be significant since it gives the impression of intimacy between Juno and Venus which might suggest that Juno is congratulating Venus on her triumph, whilist the third goddess, Minerva, seems distinctly unimpressed. AHT’s initial reading was that the figure nearest the viewer was actually Juno since she is -traditionally- the most upset at Paris’s decision to award Venus the prize; but this opinion surely has to be revised because in one of the copies of the Malmesbury Judgement, the artist gave this figure the attributes of Minerva, armour and weapons discarded on the grass. He clearly was of the opinion that the goddess further away was Minerva.
|Copy after Malmesbury Judgement of Paris, 16th century, National Gallery, Sweden.|
It’s also worth pointing out that this copyist seems to have had Marcantonio’s engraving in mind, not just because of the addition of Minerva’s armour, but because he included Cupid clutching Venus’s legs, a detail that occurs in the print. The 17th century imitator was thinking of the Malmesbury Judgement in terms of Raphael’s design, although admittedly his language of the nude is very different to the figures in Lord Malmesbury’s canvas.
Fornarina comparisons: Malmesbury Juno, La Donna Velata and Sistine Madonna.
“For his painting “Les Trois Graces” Raphael took his inspiration from an antique marble. …originally .only the woman on the left holding an apple. It was therefore a portrayal of The Judgement of Paris, the shepherd shown in a painting of comparable size in The National Gallery, London, with the title The Knight’s Dream. Later Raphael changed his mind and put an apple in the hands of each of the women thus making them Hesperides…”
Raphael, The Dream of a Knight, London, National Gallery, c. 1504. Composite of Knight’s Dream (Scipio’s Dream) and Three Graces, according to GC showing the genesis of the later painting is evident in these earlier compositions.
A Precedent Composition?
“The position of the river god in the Judgement of Paris [engraving] is echoed in reverse in Joseph Dreams and there is something of the younger god seated at the foot of Minerva recognisable in the brother closest to Joseph in the group on the left who listens intently with his head resting on his right hand. The setting is similar too to the Paris engraving, with the hillock to the left, an expanse of water in the background and foliage to the right. However, the progression from this work to the design for Joseph Dreams despite all similarities, was not a direct step. The figures had been used by Raphael when designing a basemento grisaille for the Stanza della Segnatura circa 1512.”
Racihel Le Goff.
|Raphael, Joseph Reveals His Dreams, Loggia of Leo X, Vatican,|
As we’ve journeyed far upstream to these early paintings,to what could be the source of the Judgement of Paris in the Dream of a Knight and Three Graces, let’s now change course and move in the opposite direction right up to the period when the engraving was made, a period when other works were created that, according to the supporters of the Malmesbury attribution, have compositional and spatial similarities with that picture.
One of these images, Joseph Reveals His Dreams forms part of Pope Leo’s loggia- the “Raphael Bible”- painted by Raphael and his workshop between 1518-19. Examining the claims of the Camerons, namely that this composition (traditionally given to Guilio Romano) proves Raphael’s definite involvement in the Malmesbury painting of 1512, AHT believes that they have a very good case. Not only do we have a figure based on a reclining river god, and one which resembles Paris in the English painting, but the group nearest to Joseph is composed of three interlocking figures which echoes the configuration of goddesses in the Malmesbury painting. A scholar at Oxford University, Rachel Le Goff, noted that the figure of the river god in the Judgment of Paris print was “echoed in reverse” in the pose of one of the brothers. Le Goff also noted that there was something of the younger god seated neat to Minerva in the brother close to Joseph with his head on his hand. Le Goff further read the imprint of the Judgment of Paris through Marcantonio’s engraving as she was unaware of the Malmesbury painting; but can that work continue to be left out of account given the stylistic, iconographic and artistic associations explored in this post? Doubtless there will be those who know the Malmesbury painting that insist that any similarities between relatable works such as the Joseph reveal the influence of the print, not the painting.
|Comparison of Judgement of Paris and Joseph Reveals His Dreams.|
Yet, the figurative elements and spatial organisation resembles the Malmesbury version more. The onus is on the nay-sayers to show where the group of brothers to Joseph’s left originate because this interlocking group is not derived from the print, so there must be another source. Is this group an echo of the three goddess group in the 1512 painting?
|Raphael and workshop, Cupid and the Three Graces, c. 1518, Farnesina, Vatican, fresco.|
Implicit in this motif hunting, stylistic analysis and source-matching is the issue of whether the Malmesbury Judgement of Paris is the precedent composition for all such later narrative compositions such as the female nudes in the Villa Farnesina loves of the gods?
The final instalment will present the scientific and technical data on the painting, probably within the next two weeks. Phew!
Peter Paul Rubens, The Judgement of Paris, 1630s, National Gallery, London.
·**I won’t write anything more on this here as I’ve got a publication in press where I discuss Raphael’s Dream of a Knight in relation to dreams and invention.
Joanne G. Bernstein, “The Female Model and the Renaissance Nude: Durer, Giorgione, and Raphael”, Artibus et Historiae, Vol. 13, No. 26. (1992), pp. 49-63.
Phyllis Pray Bober, Renaissance artists & antique sculpture: a handbook of sources / Phyllis Pray Bober and Ruth Rubinstein; with contributions by Susan Woodford, London, England: H. Miller; Oxford: Oxford University Press, c1986.
Linda Borlonton,The Life & Times of Raphael , 1968.
Jacob Burckhardt, Recollections of Rubens, Phaidon Press; London, 1950.
Graeme Cameron, The Secrets of Leonardo da Vinci, Vol. 1, Vega Scans, 2011.
Graeme and Norman Cameron, unpublished research report on Malmesbury Judgement of Paris, 2011.
Martin Clayton, Raphael and his Circle Drawings from Windsor Castle, Merrill Holberton, London, 1999.
Hubert Damisch, Judgement de Paris. English, The Judgement of Paris; translated by John Goodman, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, c1996.
Rona Goffen, “Raphael’s Designer Labels: From the Virgin Mary to La Fornarina”, Artibus et Historiae, Vol. 24, No. 48. (2003), pp. 123-142.
Paul Joannides, Drawings of Raphael, Berkeley Press, University of California, 1983.
Paul Joannides, “Titian, Giorgione and the Mysteries of Paris”, Artibus et historiae, no. 61 (XXI), 2010, 99-114.
Roger Jones and Nicholas Penny, Raphael, New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 1983.
Claudia Lazzaro, “River gods: Personifying nature in sixteenth-century Italy”, Renaissance Studies, Vol. 25, 1, Feb 2011, 70-94.
Racihel A. Le Goff, “Joseph Reveals His Dreams to His Brothers”, Formal Research, Oxford University, 04/07/2005 http://raichel.org/articlesRaichel/Art-Research/GiuiloRomano.htm
Konrad Oberhuber, Raphael: the paintings, Munich; New York: Prestel, c1999.
Lisa Pon, Raphael, Durer, and Marcantonio Raimondi: copying and the Italian Renaissance print, New Haven: Yale University Press, c2004.
Philip Pouncey and J.A. Gere, Italian Drawings in the British Museum: Raphael and his Circle, British Museum, London, 1962, 2 vols.
John Shearman, Raphael in early modern sources (1483-1602), New Haven; London: Yale University Press, c2003.
John Shearman, “The Organisation of Raphael’s Workshop”, Art Institute of Chicago Centennial Lectures: Museum Studies 10, (1983), 40-57.
Various, Raphael: from Urbino to Rome, Hugo Chapman, Tom Henry and Carol Plazzotta, London: National Gallery Co., c2004.
Edgar Wind, “Virtue Reconciled with Pleasure” in Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance, Oxford, OUP, 1950, 81-96.