Detail from Portarait of Bindo
Altoviti by Raphael
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
11th Octobre 2012 to
14th January 2013
The Last Years of Raphael
Masterpieces of Raphael’s last seven years (c. 1513 to 1520), before he died in Rome at the age of 37, are being exhibited in the Louvre Museum with the collaboration of the Prado Museum. The exhibition includes one hundred paintings, drawings and tapestries by the Rennaissance master as well as work by two of his apprentices, Giulio Romano and Gianfrancesco Penni.
The parallel between the master and his disciples who worked together with 50 others in his studio, not only confirms the style of Raphael’s school of painting but also brings out the individual character and independence of his two most prominent disciples.
This exhibition starts in the 5th year of Raphael’s intensive creative period in Rome. Commissioned at first by Pope Julius II to frescoe his future private library, Raphael began his Roman period by the decoration of the Vatican’s ‘stanzas’, the first one being the ‘Stanza della Segnatura’ with his greatest masterpieces ‘School of Athens’, ‘The Parnassus’ and the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament (Disputa). Parallel to his work on the stanzas in the Vatican, and with the energy of youth (he was only 31 years old), he also decorated Villa Farnesina and made cartoons for the Sistine chapel tapestery. After the death of Bramante in 1514, he was put in charge of the architectural work of St. Peters Basilica and became surveyor of ancient Roman monuments. At the same time, Raphael continued his work as master portraitist with such portraits as those of Julius II and Leon X, The Velata, portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, and that of Bindo Altoviti, or his autoportrait with Giulio Romano. The portraits of his friends carry the most authentic sign of his hand that interpreted his psychological intuition. His commissioned easle work of this period, amongst which The Madonna of the Fish (Vierge au Poisson, or Madonna del Pesce), Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary, also known as Lo Spasimo (La Montee au Calvaire), St. Michael Vanquishing Satan (Le grand St. Michel), Madonna della Perla and The Madonna of the Rose (La Madone à la rose), were also executed in his workshop. The diversity of these suggest that work was shared with his disciples during Raphael’s lifetime and even after his death.
It goes without saying that this enormous workload necessitated the creation of an organized workshop which, under Raphael’s direction, acquired an efficiency that later became a model for those of the 17th century. The workshop was organized in such a manner that for large commissions of prestige, Raphael made the first sketch of the composition. This was later recopied with precision by Penni to be later transferred into cartoon drawings by the workshop. At this stage Raphael, assisted by Romano, took over the final execution of the work. In the event he decided to be replaced entirely by Romano, Raphael nevertheless supervised, intervened and closely controlled Romano’s and in general all work produced in his workshop.
The Roman period of Raphael reveals the multiple facets of his prodigious talent intensified by contact with other giants of the period. After having followed Perugino, admired Leonardo da Vinci, come in close contact in Rome with Michelangelo (who was working on the Sistine chapel ceiling) as well as Sebastiano del Piombo, not to mention the antique Roman statues, in this high place of the Renaissance he reached the summit of his art, through his innate sense of composition and his ability to feel and express human psychology.
The exhibition also attests to the fact that without the help of his talented assistants, their diligence, ideas and imagination, within his short life Raphael would not have been able to leave such an incredible treasure for humanity.
Musée du Louvre
Entrance through the 'Pyramide du Louvre'
Open: every day 9:00 to 17:30
Price: 7.50 Euros before 15:00; 5.00 Euros after 15:00 and all day Sundays.
Combined ticket (permanent and temporary exhibitions): 11.50 Euros before 15:00, 9.50 Euros after 15:00 and all day Sundays.
Special ticket for the temporary exhibitions in the Napoleon Hall: 7 Euros.
Free entrance the first Sunday of each month.
Phone: 33 (0)1 40 20 51 51
10th October 2012
to 28th January 2013
Grand Palais, Galeries nationales
This exhibition brings to Paris life in America of the early and mid 20th century through the observant eye of a prominent American artist. He depicts urban and architectural settings, drawing incessantly street and café scenes of loneliness, boredom or resignation. These are a people who live apart but for the melancholy light that embraces them, protected by a rigidly perfect architectural setting that tends to separate them from nature and rations their light. His figures incline towards this dominant light as if longing for its distant source from which they have been separated. In this artificial world, it is mostly women who bring life into the setting and therefore dominate it.
Although an admirer of European art, Hopper tried to fence off influence from other contemporary artists to develop his own style and viewpoint. He also consistently denied the interpretation of critics who saw meaning, a state of mind or emotion in his paintings: ‘I was more interested in the sunlight on the buildings and on the figures than any symbolism. So much of every art is an expression of the sub-conscious that it seems to me most of all the important qualities are put there unconsciously, and little of importance by the conscious intellect.’ Commenting on his most famous work the Nighthawk he is reported as having said that ‘Nighthawks has more to do with the possibility of predators in the night than with loneliness’. Yet he managed to convey his inner feelings, albeit unconsciously, if today’s viewer relives that mixture of enlightenment, loneliness and melancholy separation that he drew from deep within, and sees in these paintings an honest description and commentary of this epoch in America.
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris 8
Phone: +33 (0)1 44 13 17 17
Metro: Champs-Elysées Clémenceau, Franklin Roosevelt
Open: 10:00 to 22:00 (Sundays & Mondays 10:00 to 20:00)
School holidays: Open every day 10:00 to 22:00 (including Tuesdays)
Closed: normal Tuesdays, 25th December
Price: 8/12 Euros