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Raphael Tapestries

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发表于 8-24-2022 15:08:23 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Cammy Brothers, The Threads of History. Wall Street Journal, Aug 22, 2022, at page A 13.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/rap ... dresden-11660945729

Note:
(a) This is a review of the exhibition
Raphael—The Power of Renaissance Images: The Dresden Tapestries and their Impact. Columbus Museum of Art, July 15–Oct 30, 2022
https://www.columbusmuseum.org/r ... s-and-their-impact/
("The Columbus Museum of Art is proud to be the only American venue for the exhibition Raphael—The Power of Renaissance Images: The Dresden Tapestries and their Impact, on display from July 15 through October 30, 2022. The exhibition is centered around six tapestries, woven in the 17th century, on loan from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery of Dresden), Germany, one of Europe's most renowned museums. * * * Following their début in an exhibition for European audiences at the Dresden Picture Gallery last year, this will be the tapestries' first ever trip to the United States. The exhibition focuses on the creation of the Dresden tapestries and introduces their various patrons and owners through the centuries—in particular, Charles I, King of England, and Augustus II [also known as Augustus the Strong], Elector of Saxony and [at the same time] King of Poland—while also highlighting Raphael's broad impact and influence on later artists. * * *  Around 1516 Raphael completed his cartoons for tapestries commissioned to hang in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican. The Dresden tapestries are one of numerous sets woven from Raphael's cartoons after his death. The tapestries depict scenes from the New Testament, most from the book Acts of the Apostles, focused on the lives of St Peter and St Paul")
(i) Old Masters Picture Gallery, Dresden State Art Museums. Google Arts & Culture, undated
https://artsandculture.google.co ... ers-picture-gallery
("The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden [German acronym: SKD; hence Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister's URL is
https://gemaeldegalerie.skd.museum/en/
] (Dresden State Art Collections) that are among the most prominent museums in the world. The combined holdings of the twelve museums [en.wikipedia.org for the page "Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden" says 15 museums, 'owned by the State of Saxony,' not Dresden (capital of Saxony)] offer the visitor a remarkable thematic diversity. These museums originated from the collections of the Saxon electors and Polish kings")
(ii) Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemäldegalerie_Alte_Meister
(physically "is located in the Semper Gallery" which was designed by "architect Gottfried Semper" and "built from 1847 to 1854" and what is now called Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister opened in 1855. "Due to shortage of space in 1931 [a building was erected] for what is now known as the New Masters Gallery")
(iii) German-English dictionary:
* alte: "inflection of [adj] alt [old]"
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/alte
* Meister (noun masculine; from Latin [noun masculine] magister [master]): "master"
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Meister
   ^ English noun master is also derived from Latin magister.
* Gemäldegalerie (noun feminine): "picture gallery"  (Some other online dictionaries define it as art gallery or painting gallery.)
   ^ Gemälde (noun neuter): "painting"
   https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Gemälde
   ^ Galerie (noun feminine)
   https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Galerie
   Recall that all German nouns have the first letter capitalized.

(b)
(i) Cammy Brothers. Associate Professor, College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD), Boston: Northeastern University, undated.
https://camd.northeastern.edu/faculty/cammy-brothers/
(ii) The last name Brother (without s) has several origins, including English meaning brother. There is Brother typewriters. I do not find the origin of brotherS.
(iii) Raphael
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphael
(1483 – 1520; Italian)
(iv) The Miraculous Draft (or Draught) of Fishes.

draft (n; from verb draw): "1: fishing
a: the act of drawing or pulling in a net"
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/draft
(v) "The tapestries, commissioned by Pope Leo X around 1514, comprise two cycles, focusing on the Apostles Peter and Paul."

Meaning of cycle?
(A) Go to Web and you will find Raphael had "fresco cycles," too. But "cycle" is not limited to tapestry, fresco, Raphael or art (because googling the pair of art and cycle, you find nothing). See, eg,
Padua's Fourteenth-Century Fresco Cycles. World Heritage Foundation (WFC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), undated (Date of Inscription (meaning 'admission'): 2021; Dossier 1623).
https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1623/

However, after one read the Web page, he still does not know what "cycle" means.
(B) What Is a Fresco Cycle?  Quora, undated
https://www.quora.com/What-is-a-fresco-cycle
(William Smith answered: "A fresco cycle is simply a series of frescos that depict a series of related events. The most famous of all such cycles is Michelangelo's in the Sistine Chapel depicting a series of biblical events.  (The Last Judgment was completed later and is a separate work.)  One of the earliest cycles is that of Giotto on the life of St Francis in Assisi. (Attributed to Giotto, in any case.)" )
• Sistine Chapel will be discussed in a separate posting.
• Giotto
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giotto
("The great Florence Painter * * * Cimabue went to Assisi to paint several large frescoes at the new Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, and it is possible, but not certain, that Giotto went with him. The attribution of the fresco cycle of the Life of St Francis in the Upper Church has been one of the most disputed in art history. The documents of the Franciscan Friars that relate to artistic commissions during this period were destroyed by Napoleon's troops, who stabled horses in the Upper Church of the Basilica, so scholars have debated the attribution to Giotto. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it was convenient to attribute every fresco in the Upper Church not obviously by Cimabue to the more well-known Giotto")
# This Wiki page contains photo caption: "One of the Legend of St Francis frescoes at Assisi, the authorship of which is disputed."
# The Life of Saint Francis. I Tatti (Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies), undated
https://itatti.harvard.edu/beren ... /life-saint-francis

full text:

"The remarkable fresco cycle of 28 scenes depicting the Life of Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) in the upper church of San Francesco in Assisi is considered one of the foundational works of art in the Western tradition. Painted between 1296 and 1304, its traditional attribution to Giotto has in more recent times been called into question.

"The Berenson Library makes available an unusual and rich collection of over 1,500 color images of this fundamental cycle that were captured during the restoration treatment carried out by Bruno Zanardi between 1974 and 1983, before the devastating earthquake in 1997 that severely damaged the paintings in the vault of the church. The images, which show astonishing close-up details of the scenes, were shot using different kinds of lighting that highlight the state of conservation of the frescoes as well as the technique of the artist(s).

"Access the images of the Life of Saint Francis in Hollis Images. [Click it and the photo described immediately above is at the upper right corner.

# Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Saint_Francis_of_Assisi   
(section 2 Architecture; section 3 Upper Basilic: "But the most important decorations are the series of 28 frescoes ascribed to the young Giotto along the lower part of the nave")
# The Berensons. I Tatti, undated
https://itatti.harvard.edu/berensons
("In 1900, Bernard Berenson and Mary Smith Costelloe married and moved to a rural property that had been called "Tatti" or "I Tatti' since at least the Middle Ages. They first rented this property, set in the Settignano foothills east of Florence, from Sir John Temple Leader, a local English expatriate, and then bought from his heir on 10 March 1908")

Villa I Tatti
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_I_Tatti

Neither explains the meaning of "I Tatti." There are clues, however.
Tatti, Massa Marittima
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatti,_Massa_Marittima
, a village in Tuscany whose capital is Florence.

Italian-English dictionary:
tatto (noun masculine; plural tatti): "touch (sense of)"
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tatto
i (definite article masculine plural; singular il): "the"
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/i
(C) cycle (n)
"5 a: a group of creative works (such as poems, plays, or songs) treating the same theme  <a cycle of poems about unrequited love>
b: a series of narratives dealing typically with the exploits of a legendary hero  <the Arthurian cycle>"
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cycle
(vi) "Intended to be hung on the lower register of the [Sistine] chapel, they [tapestries] would have been in direct competition with Michelangelo's work pon the ceilinh]."

register (art)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register_(art)   
("In art and archaeology, in sculpture as well as in painting, a register is a horizontal level in a work that [work] consists of several levels arranged one above the other, especially where the levels are clearly separated by lines"_
(vii) "porphyry columns"
(A) porphyry
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyry
(may refer to "porphyry (geology), an igneous rock with large crystals in a fine-grained matrix and important Roman building material")
(B) porphyry (geology)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyry_(geology)
("In its non-geologic, traditional use, the term porphyry refers to the purple-red form of this stone, valued for its appearance.  The term porphyry is from the Ancient Greek [noun feminine] porphyra, meaning 'purple.' Purple was the color of royalty")



(c) tapestry
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapestry
("Tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike most woven textiles, where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible. * * * Tapestry should be distinguished from the different technique of embroidery, although large pieces of embroidery with images are sometimes loosely called 'tapestry,' as with the famous Bayeux Tapestry, which is in fact embroidered. * * * In late medieval Europe tapestry was the grandest and most expensive medium for figurative images in two dimensions, and despite the rapid rise in importance of painting it retained this position in the eyes of many Renaissance patrons until at least the end of the 16th century, if not beyond")
(i) This Wiki page does not explain why embroidery is different from tapestry.

Henry Samuel, Bayeux Tapestry Isn't a Tapestry and Wasn't Woven by Nuns. Telegraph, Nov 15, 2012
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news ... -woven-by-nuns.html
("A tapestry is woven on a loom whereas an embroidery has what is known as a 'ground fabric' on which threads are sewn or embroidered to form a picture")

The article is locked behind paywall. The quotation is from Google, which is all we need. In embroidery, ground fabric is usually a white cloth.
(ii) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapestry
(section 1 Terms and etymology: Ancient Greek for carpet)

carpet
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpet
("consisting of an upper layer of pile attached to a backing [warp and weft]. The pile was traditionally made from wool, but since the 20th century, synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon or polyester are often used, as these fibers are less expensive than wool")


(d) What Is Tapestry?  "V&A South Kensington, undated
https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/what-is-tapestry

Quote:

"In Europe, the great period of tapestry weaving ran from the second half of the 14th century to the end of the 18th century.

"They [tapestries] were extremely costly to produce and so served to demonstrate their owner's wealth. Unlike today, tapestries were not simply static objects, but were often rolled up and moved between residences.

"Wool is the material that has been most widely used for tapestry weaving, traditionally used for both the warp and weft threads [plus silk and metal threads occasionally].

"A tapestry is created by weaving coloured weft threads through plain warp threads. The warp threads are stretched on a loom and act as a grid for weavers to create a pattern with the coloured weft threads. The key feature of tapestry weaving is that most of the weft threads do not run all the way across the warp. Instead the weft runs back and forth across a specific segment of the warp to create a small block of colour. This is known as a discontinuous weft.

"During weaving the weft threads are beaten down hiding the warp to create a weft-faced textile so the design is visible on the front and the back.

"Tapestries are woven on a loom. At its simplest, a loom is formed of two rollers, between which the warp threads are strung.

"Tapestry weaving is an extremely labour-intensive process.

"Weavers traditionally work from a design known as a cartoon. This is painted on cloth or paper at full scale

"The Raphael Cartoons are examples of 16th-century tapestry designs. Commissioned by Pope Leo X, they were designed by the artist Raphael on the theme of the Acts of the Apostles. Once the tapestries were woven the cartoons were sold on to other workshops. In 1623 they were bought by the future King Charles I for use at the tapestry workshop in Mortlake and later came to the V&A, on loan from HM [Her Majesty] Queen Elizabeth II.

"While technological advances mean that tapestries can now be woven mechanically, many contemporary weavers still use traditional hand-weaving methods. Fiona Rutherford's work 'Go-Shoaki Shimasu' (Let me introduce you) is an example of contemporary tapestry in which the weaver has played with form to create a unique kimono-shaped piece.

(i) Victoria and Albert Museum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_and_Albert_Museum
("often abbreviated as the V&A")
(ii) Charles I of England
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_I_of_England
(1600-1649; reign 1625 – 1649; father was James I and son was James II; fought with parliament in battlefields and lost, beheaded)
(iii) Mortlake
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortlake
(section 2 History: name Old English lacu --> "Old English [noun feminine] lacu," which is the ancestor of Modern English noun lake)
(iv) Go-Shoaki Shimasu
(A) There is a typo: Not "shoaki" but "shokai."  See
Go-Shokai Shimasu (Let me introduce you). V&A, 2002.
https://collections.vam.ac.uk/it ... y-rutherford-fiona/
(B) The correct romanization is shōkai or shoukai, where  ō or ou signifies a long vowel of o.

Jim Breen's online Japanese-English dictionary:
* shōkai 紹介 【しょうかい】 (n,v): "introduction; presentation  <あなたを私の両親に紹介したい。 I want you to meet my parents.>"
* mōsu 申す 【もうす】 (v): "(hum[ble]) to say   <こちら [pronounced kochira and represented by kanji 此方] はスミスと申します。ジョンソンさんはおいででしょうか。 This is Mr Smith speaking. Is Mr Johnson in?>"
(C) The "go" is represented by kanji 御, and is simply a (honorific) prefix signaling politeness. The "shimasu" (a form of suru 為る) coverts a noun to a verb. Literally, "Go-Shokai Shimasu" is not "Let me introduce you" (because there is no "let") but "I will introduce you" (Japanese language has only two tense: past and present, with the latter for the future also).
(D) Shookai shimasu?  sci.lang.japan@googlegroups.com (Japanese language group), June 9, 1992
https://groups.google.com/g/sci.lang.japan/c/w-uu92D48xY

It is impossible that you will read this (and understand it). I will give you a summary: The title should be Shoukai shimasu?

The question is: "Is there any different between the verbs shookai shimasu and goshookai shimasu.  My dictiona[r]y only has the first entry - but I have recently seen th[e] second in textbooks."

My comment: Both are correct, but the latter is more polite. Self introduction should be "(watashi wa) Loretta desu." If the speaker want to be humble, such as talking to emperor, see the definition in "mōsu" in (d)(iv)(B).
(v) "kimono-shaped piece: is not kimono -- merely kimono-shaped, with two flaps for arms (but the flaps are too short for arms).
(vi) This V&A page has an illustration of

Venus Admonishing Cupid Tapestry. V&A,  1555-1565 ([year it was] designed, by "Castello, Giovanni Battista").
https://collections.vam.ac.uk/it ... -giovanni-battista/
(A) English dictionary:
* Cupid (proper noun; Latin Cupīdō, personification of [noun feminine] cupīdō desire, from [adjective] cupidus eager, greedy, passionate, from [verb] cupere to desire)
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Cupid
* psyche (n; borrowed from Latin [noun feminine] psychē, itself a borrowing from Ancient Greek [noun feminine] psukhḗ soul): "the human soul, mind, or spirit"
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/psyche
(B) Cupid and Psyche
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupid_and_Psyche
does not mention Venus admonishing Cupid. So it is unclear what the V&A tapestry, or whether the admonition was about Psyche.


(e) The WSJ review says, "The six tapestries from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, that are on view here are those that were created in Mortlake. (Part of the Roman version of the cycle is on view at the Pinacoteca in the Vatican Museums which still owns the versions commissioned by Pope  Leo X], and all 10 tapestries were mounted in the Sistine Chapel in 2020, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death, while the cartoons have been newly restored and installed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.)"
(i) Lest you get confused, I will explain.
(ii) V&A has CARTOONS of Raphael tapestriesL seven out of the original 10 survives. V&A does not explain what happened to the lost three. In addition, V&A had one set (the WSJ review uses "version") of Raphael tapestries. See (e)(i)(B) nelow.
(A) The Raphael Cartoons. V&A, undated
https://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/raphael-cartoons
("The Cartoons have been on loan to the V&A from Her Majesty The Queen since 1865"/ photo of the seven cartoons)
(B) The story of the Raphael Cartoons. V&A, undated
https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/story-of-the-raphael-cartoons
("Of the ten original designs only seven have survived and these can be seen today in the Raphael Court in the V&A. * * * All four Cartoons depicting the life of Saint Peter have survived * * * Of the six Cartoons depicting the life of Saint Paul, only three have survived: The Conversion of the Proconsul, The Sacrifice at Lystra and Paul Preaching at Athens. We can however appreciate what the three lost Cartoons may have looked like thanks to their surviving tapestries [which is patterned after the cartoons], which illustrate The Stoning of Stephen (Acts 9: 1–7) witnessed by Saul (the future Saint Paul) before his conversion, The Conversion of Saul (Acts 9:1–7), and Paul in Prison (Acts 16: 23–6). * * * It is probable that the Cartoons remained in Brussels in the workshop of Pieter van Aelst for a number of years and were passed to fellow tapestry makers who produced further sets of the Acts up until the 1550s. A set of tapestries was woven around 1533 for François I, King of France. This set remained in the French Royal Collection until 1797 when it was burnt in the aftermath of the French Revolution (1789) in order to extract the silver and gold threads. Another set of tapestries were made for King Henry VIII and delivered to Westminster Palace in 1542. They remained in the British Royal Collection until 1649 [Charles I of England was beheaded] when they were sold along with nearly 2,000 works of art to settle the late king's debts and raise money for the new regime. The tapestries were eventually acquired by the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin in the 19th century but were destroyed in 1945 during the Second World War. Two further sets were acquired in the late 1540s and early 1550s by the [Holy Roman] Emperor Charles V or his son Philip II (held in the collection of Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, Spain), and by the Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga (held in the collection of Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, Italy). * * * The Cartoons suddenly reappear in the Italian city of Genoa at the beginning of the 17th century. They were subsequently purchased by the Prince Charles, future King Charles I, and brought to England in 1623 to serve as tapestry designs for the recently founded Mortlake tapestry manufactory, then a village west of London, in 1619. * * * The set of tapestries woven for Henry VIII were still held in the Royal Collection in the 17th century and may have inspired Charles I to commission a set of his own from the original Raphael Cartoons. The German-born Francis Cleyn, who was the official designer at Mortlake, created full-scale copies of Raphael's originals and a new series of tapestries were made for Charles I between 1626 and 1642. Following the monarch's example, the British aristocracy commissioned sets for their own use, including the third Earl of Devonshire (1617 – 84), who commissioned a set for Chatsworth House, where they still hang today. Another example, made for the Earl of Pembroke can be seen on display in our Raphael Court, facing its corresponding Cartoon The Miraculous Draught of Fishes.   After the execution of Charles I in 1649, his collection was dispersed as part of the Commonwealth Sale (1649 – 54), with the exception of a few works retained by Oliver Cromwell, who was at the head of the new republican regime. Among these were Raphael's Cartoons and Mantegna's great cycle of the Triumphs of Caesar, which remained the property of the Nation. Charles I's set made by the Mortlake manufactory were later acquired by Louis XIV, King of France and are still in the French collection today (Mobilier national, Paris)   Following the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, the Cartoons returned to the possession of King Charles II")

This quotation never says explicitly whatever happened to the set made for Henry VII and for Charles I.
(iii) How did Dresden get its hand on Raphael tapestries, and only six not ten?  The owner, Dresden museum, does not explain the latter.
(A) Raphael – The Power of Renaissance Images The Dresden Tapestries and their Impact. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, undated (exhibition June 6-Aug 30, 2020
https://gemaeldegalerie.skd.muse ... renaissance-images/
("From 1515, Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) was commissioned by Pope Leo X to create ten large-format cartoons; designs which were used in Brussels to weave the tapestries for the Sistine Chapel. Now found in the Vatican Museums, these were hung for the first time at Christmas in 1519. Raphael's cartoons, today in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, were purchased in Genoa in 1623 by the future King Charles I of England, who sent them to the Mortlake tapestry workshop for use in weaving further series. The series of six wall hangings which came into the collection of Elector Friedrich August I of Saxony (Augustus the Strong) in 1728 were also made there.   Three are dedicated to Saint Peter, the other three to Saint Paul")
*B) Review Note (a), from the Ohio museum.










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 楼主| 发表于 8-24-2022 15:10:15 | 显示全部楼层
----------------------full text
Columbus, Ohio

Renaissance tapestries make a challenging subject for a contemporary exhibition. Their size makes them difficult to move, their colors are fleeting and must be kept in low light and their historical and biblical subjects may be less than compelling to modern-day viewers. No wonder, then, that they are rarely the subject of major shows. But in their own time they signified wealth, prestige and power, and important patrons, from dukes to popes to princes, were perhaps more willing to spend money on them than on any other type of production. In a beautiful and ambitious exhibition currently on view at the Columbus Museum of Art, “Raphael—The Power of Renaissance Images: The Dresden Tapestries and Their Impact,” a thoughtful selection of nearly 50 objects, primarily by other artists, and intelligent installation give visitors the best possible chance to see a set of six of the magnificent and influential tapestries designed by Raphael in their full glory.

The tapestries, commissioned by Pope Leo X around 1514, comprise two cycles, focusing on the Apostles Peter and Paul. Raphael made full-scale, color drawings, known as cartoons, which were then sent to the workshop of Pieter van Aelst in Flanders. Seven out of the 10 [tapestries, not cartoons] were completed during Raphael's lifetime, and sent back to Rome for display in 1519 in the Sistine Chapel, while the remaining three arrived by 1521. Raphael's cartoons for the tapestries surfaced in Genoa in 1623, when they were purchased by the future Charles I for use in the production of a new tapestry cycle in Mortlake, near London. While a few minor changes were introduced (for example, the halos were omitted), the tapestries were largely the same as the earlier versions, only with different borders. The six tapestries from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, that are on view here are those that were created in Mortlake. (Part of the Roman version of the cycle is on view at the Pinacoteca in the Vatican Museums, and all 10 tapestries were mounted in the Sistine Chapel in 2020, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death, while the cartoons have been newly restored and installed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.)

The commission by Leo X was born of an urge to outdo his predecessor Pope Julius II and the Sistine Ceiling he [Julius II, not Leo X] had commissioned from [sic; 'from' should not be here] Michelangelo. A tall order, one would think, but tapestries were perceived as a highly luxurious art form, often interwoven with gold and silver threads that would gleam in candlelight. Intended to be hung on the lower register of the chapel, they would have been in direct competition with Michelangelo's work. Raphael was a better storyteller [than Michelangelo?], and the tapestries highlight his ability to direct the viewer's attention while emphasizing the heroic acts of the Apostles. There's also a hint of Raphael's [1483 – 1520] own rivalry with Michelangelo [1475 – 1564], as if he were saying, "everything you can do, I can do better" -- demonstrating his prowess in depicting antique-inspired nudes, seen for example in the muscular arms and backs of the fishermen in the "Miraculous Draft of Fishes," but also including lavish landscape and architectural elements that Michelangelo's compositions lacked.

Raphael was adept at many things, not only a painter of varied objects but also a skilled architect, courtier and wrier, He was also situated at the epicenter of an array of important artistic transformations and innovations. The rediscovery of ancient works of sculpture and the creation of such works as the Sistine Ceiling fed into Raphael's artistic lexicon, allowing him to incorporate these new ideas, primarily about the human body, into his designs.

Raphael was not, however, an experienced designer of tapestries. But designing for a new medium didn't stop him from making aesthetic choices that ran completely against the tapestry tradition. In the boldly asymmetrical composition of "St Paul preaching in Athens," Raphael shows the apostle with his back to us, a position echoed in a statute of a soldier, whose body is likewise turned away. The listeners are positioned in an arc that curves to include us, though affording only an oblique view of the main event. The architectu­re is as much a protagonis­t as the figures, occupying at least half the compositio­n, and mirroring revivals of ancient architectu­re in such recently completed buildings as Bramante's Tempietto. "The Miraculous Draft of Fishes" is practically barren compared to the buy surfaces typical of the genre and medium; and the "The Healing of the Lame Man" is dense by comparison, but what might at first glance seem a grid is complicated by the spiraling forms of the columns.   

As the curators note in the excellent catalog, the weavers had minds of their own. Faced with designs that broke with tradition and focused on a few monumental figures, large-scale architecture, off-center compositions and few ornaments, they attempted to insert 'beautifying' details improving where they could. Their skill is apparent everywhere in the surface of the tapestries, but especially striking are the ways they rendered other materials, from silk fabric to porphyry columns.

The impact of Raphael's bold composition on European art was immediate. Copied in prints, ceramics and paintings, they had a long afterlife in work of artists of his generation and beyond, from Rubens and Poussin to John Singleton Copley, all of whom are represented in the exhibition. Although Raphael's ideas traveled, his tapestries rarely do, and the exhibition represents a rare chance to see these extraordinary works.
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