Att. to Raphael, previously att to Giorgione, The Judgement of Paris, Private Coll., 1512.
The dispute revolves around whether this disregarded picture was painted by Raphael. But even if we discount that attribution, I think we have to face the fact that the composition, models and sources are connected with Raphael’s workshop. I won’t repeat all that has been written in the lost four posts; but I did ask Graeme Cameron if he had anything else to add, or wanted to indicate material that had got left out of the previous posts. I’m quoting GC verbatim here:
1. Dating and Style.
“To assist with the scientific verification of both the date and style of the dress depicted within the "JoP", as worn by Raphael, it can be actually scientifically proven as certainly deriving from the years 1500 to 1520 in the High Renaissance. Most fortunately,my research is also dealing with yet another significant work from this period on an oak panel, which concerns "Three Saints", which has been accurately dated by leading Dendrochronologist, Prof. Dr. Peter Klein, to the 1500 to 1510-20 period.
|Attribution to be advised, St James from “Three Saints”, oil on oak, dimensions not known.|
The Saint depicted here, "St. James" ( with the Scallop Shell), wears the same White Hose and Slashed Doublet/Tunic style, and even more so, the same soft style Suede Boots/Shoes, as does Raphael in the "JoP". In this composition, St.James like Raphael, has likewise been updated to the contemporary early 1500's Renaiisance dress, for this purpose, rather than retaining his actual Biblical Garb. It is worth noting this important fact for definitive dress dating purposes of the "JoP."
2. Monogrammes. I didn’t get a chance to show images with the Raphael monogramme “"Rv", reproduced in GC’s book- so here they are.
|Monogrammes from GC’s book.|
3. Physiognomy and Identification.
“It's perhaps worth adding to the remarks on physiognomy, that proof of the difficulty of rendering on a small scale an accurate likeness of young "Fornarina" was a very skilled task for Raphael, as some of the poorly rendered faces of some of the versions in these images attest. In the case of the versions, it is clear the Malmesbury prototype alone has these pivotal physiognomies of Fornarina and Raphael, whilst they all vary in both the quality and "type" of their respective renditions, but obviously have all derived from it, either as a versions or variants.
These images are "Age & Date Specific" with Fornarina's the youngest known image of her.
|Raphael's Physical Concordances at various ages.|
The comparisons show clearly "Age/Date Specific Physiognomic Concordances" which are entirely unique to the Malmesbury work, providing both dating confirmation and direct evidence of the 1512 evolution of this composition and of Raphael's certain involvement in its "original" creation in Rome at that time. These are in fact actual portraits of both Fornarina and Raphael, albeit small, yet so accurate in their Age and Date features, they could only have been painted from "life" sittings in Rome in 1512. The Fornarina is clearly a more naive and youthful portrayal than any previously known image of her and is therefore neither a copy nor any "chance resemblance", but a unique visage of her in 1512. It is self evidently an "Age and Date specific portrait, which most accurately records her actual physiognomy at that time, which may well include her naked countenance, from this original sitting. Accurate portraits are difficult enough to create, yet both these are finely wrought, true to life renditions and dateable to Rome in 1512. Likewise Raphael's countenance, which as proven by its subsurface pentimenti, was added into the composition to join that of Fornarina, and is also a unique portrayal, in that it is not a copy of any previously known image of him, either in its dress or "type", It too is an "Age and Date specific "original" portrait like Fornarina's of 1512. His physiognomy is consistent with with that of "Stanza" version, with the garb datable to this period, however he is clearly younger and in better health than seen in the 1519 joint portrait. None of these could be claimed as "chance" likenesses but were purpose created portraits for this painting.In the case of the versions, it is clear the Malmesbury prototype alone has these pivotal physiognomies of Fornarina and Raphael, whilst they all vary in both the quality and "type" of their respective renditions, but are obviously all derived from it, either as a versions or variants.”
|Three Graces, J of P and Farnesina nudes.|
4. Poses, Sources and Copies.
“This image above shows Raphael's unique "Contrapposto" pose shared between all three compositions, from the earlier 1508 Venus, to the 1512 JoP. These anatomical pose Hallmarks are quite distinctive to his oeuvre. “
|J of P and Entombment sketch|
A further "Raphael "cut & Paste compositional source for the painting showing direct links & concordances evident between his earlier 1508 'discarded' Entombment Sketch and the later 'recycled' 1512 'JoP' figure group.”
|Copies. See post 1 for details.|
“Comparison with the Copies & Versions show the precedence of The Malmesbury original viz a viz the versions.”
5. Quality Issues and Connoisseurship.
“Not just Waagen & Eastlake, but other great connoisseurs, Ridolfi, Passavant, Sir Martin Conway, and Millions of admirers at two major National Art Treasures Exhibitions at Manchester & Leeds, & in was singled out for praise in subsequent Press Reviews. Also at the two Royal Academy Exhibitions it was greatly admired as a Giorgione and even given the privilege of a Full Page Engraved Plate. Its qualities were so self evident, as indeed they still are today, that The Louvre was honoured to exhibit it in Paris, and later many visited Lord Mamesbury's Mayfair mansion just to admire it as well. Therefore those who are unable to appreciate its inherent beauty are obviously in the minority, as the majority always appreciated its qualities.”
6. VegaScan and “Vested Interests.”
I did ask Graeme Cameron if he had anything further to add on the VegaScan issue amid concerns about “vested interests.” He referred those concerned back to the technical blog's images, “where the capabilities of the VegaScan process, in regard to the effectiveness of its image penetration, compared with Infra-reds, provides the most self evident demonstration".
In response to concerns expressed about the “vested interest” issue, GC said:
"How it (VegaScan) achieves this is presently subject to confidentiality provisions, whilst the necessary proprietary measures are being determined".
This is the situation at the present- that’s all I can report.
7. The Next Book.
Finally, Graeme tells me that in Volume 2 of his series, “that not only will an important new direct link back to Raphael and his "Judgement of Paris composition be revealed, confirming it has everything to do with Raphael and Rome, with only its palette and Piombo/Macantonio's ( Giorgione) "influence" representing its earlier explained Venetian elements, but not its actual origin”.
AHT’s Final Thoughts.
For myself, I think this case raises four important questions:
1. If this wasn’t painted by Raphael, then why are there physiognomic, stylistic and iconographic links between the Malmesbury painting and designs produced by his own hand, e.g. the Adam and Eve, and now as we can see above, the Entombment sketch?
2. Can we accept that Raphael- with all his exposure to Venetian painting- may not have sought to fashion a personal, erotic subject based upon some of Giorgione’s pastoral mythologies?
3. Leaving aside the issue of its authorship, and turning to the issue of quality: why was it endorsed by connoisseurs of the first rank like Waagen and Eastlake, not to mention good enough to go in the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition? See GC’s comments above.
4. How do we explain the facial resemblance between the left goddess in the Judgement of Paris and portraits of Fornarina; the same goes for portraits of Raphael and the “Paris” figure? Again, see above.
As for the attribution, the main bone of contention, I fully understand that people are protective of Raphael, but I’m a huge fan of the painter too- and I would never do anything to harm his reputation. I appreciate that it’s important to give a balanced, objective view of a painters development, weeding out the copies and variants from the true originals, which I’ve started with the Poussin project. In my own speciality as Poussin scholar I’m learning all the time, especially about the question of Poussin copies, which is clearly an emerging concern over at the PCP. We don’t yet have the “full picture” of Raphael too, which is a point that I’ve stressed again and again throughout the series of posts.
Perhaps the Malmesbury case illustrates the adversarial nature of attribution culture, and I’ll put my hands up and say that I've been guilty of rubbishing somebody’s attribution in the past. This time I’ve used my knowledge and judgement to try to negotiate between those who agree with the attribution and those who resist it. Everybody is entitled to their view, but I have to say that I think this case should be less a judgement on Graeme Cameron’s connoisseurship and the technology he uses, and more about the issues it raises for studying Raphael in the 21st century.
Stressing the positive, which I’d rather do, it’s interesting that the appearance of the Malmesbury picture has set some scholars on new paths of investigation. Though wisely keeping out of the attribution debates, Frank DeStefano has incorporated the Malmesbury painting into his thinking on Giorgione. I think that is the spirit in which to approach the problems surrounding this controversial canvas.
Many thanks for reading the posts and commenting on them.
Thanks of course to Graeme, and Norm Cameron for plentiful material,images and supplying answers to all my queries.
We now wait for GC’s new findings in the next volume of his research.