Raphael - From Urbino to Rome

September 26, 2010

A bronze bust of a young Raphael, made some centuries after his death in 1520

My trip to Florence is almost upon me - I fly out tomorrow afternoon! I must admit to some degree of trepidation mixed with giddy excitement. My fascination with art history began when I was quite young, but as it has been secondary to my studies and subsequent career as a health professional, was always something that resided mainly in my imagination.

I have attended local galleries and seen the travelling exhibitions of Dali, Monet, Picasso but I have not yet seen the work of an old master in person(barring Rembrandt), in particular one that I am so enamoured of, such as Raphael or Botticelli.

One of my favourite Raphael paintings - representing the Kharites, or Three Graces. Some scholars believe it to be an accompanying panel to Vision of a Knight

All this changes when I (hopefully) arrive intact in Florence on Tuesday and set about gawking at things at my own pace. I am not sure what degree of connectivity I will have whilst I am there, so may not be able to do some liveblogging as I'd originally hoped. I hear open wifi hotspots are banned in Italy, which is a bit of a shame.

Needless to day, keep your eye on 3PP and its accompanying twitter feed in the days and weeks to come - I am bound to make some effort to echo my experiences in the digital realm.

First century CE fresco by unknown Roman artist at Pompeii, house of Titus Dentatus Panthera. It is interesting to note Raphael had no knowledge of this fresco - but may have seen a variation of it at Nero's Domus Aurea. Some believe a Roman statue remnant now in Siena was a possible inspiration.

In my absence, I will leave my beloved readers with a treat. Documentaries on Raphael are few and far between. He usually is mentioned with reverence, but often in a documentary that is discussing Leonardo or Michelangelo, or the Renaissance in general. In 2004, the National Gallery of London presented the exhibition Raphael: From Urbino to Rome. The catalogue for this exhibition by Hugo Chapman et al was extremely popular, and can still be purchased from the NGL or places like Amazon.

The clips below are taken from the video that was made to promote the exhibition. If you would like to purchase the entire presentation, please visit the National Gallery London store website


e said...

Wow, how exciting! I am so envious that you get to go to Italy! I can't wait to read about your adventures there.

I think Raphael is wonderful. Granted, I am limited in what I have seen (only been to museums in D.C., NYC, and Philly), but I saw this and loved it:

Unknown said...

Cheers e!

If you've been to the NGA in DC you may have seen a more famous Raphael, the Portrait of Bindo Altovinti. I plan on visiting DC next year and hope to find it there too, though I know it has done a bit of travelling in recent years. There was a great book about it released in 2005 you may be interested in : Raphael and the Beautiful Banker

That still beats me though - the only Raphael I have seen prior to my trip is a Ninja Turtle! :)


Dr. F said...


Have a great trip. Florence itself is a work of art. If you cross the Arno at the Ponte alle Grazie and then turn left to go up the many steps behind the Porta St. Niccolo, you will come to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a stunning view of the city. Nearby is the exquisite Romanesque church of S. Miniato. (You can take a bus to the Piazzale Michelangelo)

You could also take a bus to Fiesole but the view of florence from there is usually clouded with haze.

Expect to be blown away by the Uffizi.


Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Quite jealous! But also excited for you! Cannot wait to hear your observations. Safe travels!

Ben J Hamilton said...

Fantastic blog - I've just found it now and it looks like I have a lot of catching up to do. I'm very grateful for all the effort you've put into this.

Unknown said...

Cheers Vicky and Ben :)

I just got back today! Had a nice time, but definitely looking forward to getting stuck back into my blog.

Details of what I saw will be presented with articles, I didn't merely want to bore people with holiday snaps... that's not what 3PP is about :)

Kind Regards

Simon Abrahams said...

It sounds like you're in Florence for a nice long time. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Regards, Simon

Unknown said...

Hi Simon :) I was there 1 week - long enough to get a ear and chest infection! This has knocked the stuffing out of me so my return to blogging will be delayed a bit...!


Dr. F said...

You probably got the infection on the plane. Anyway, get well. I posted on Giorgione's "Boy with an Arrow," and "Laura" while you were away.


Unknown said...

Hello Frank! Thank you for your well wishes :)

I was fine until my second last day in Florence, when I awoke violently dizzy and subsequently very ill!

I believe I was not sufficiently well dressed during a couple occasions that I got stuck in the rain and this exposure increased my likelihood of catching a bug in the air.

As much as I enjoyed the artworks, I'm sticking to pampered resort holidays from now on. Being an art tourist is not as interesting as being an art+history blogger.

I can quite unequivocally state that I myself did not need to stand in front of Botticelli, Raphael or Giorgione to like them any more or less. I've always been more interested in the ideas and history. Hence, unless time travel is invented, I cant see myself going back any time soon!

Looking forward to your new posts!


Ben J Hamilton said...

Sorry to read about your infection - hope you're well soon. If you find time, I'd be interested to know what books you might recommend on human anatomy (modern or otherwise)

Unknown said...

Cheers for the well wishes Ben. As for anatomy texts, I've sent you an email with more info, though the standard texts such as Gray's is always a good place to start. However, it depends on what level of information you need, so a medically oriented training text like Gray's might be less useful for an artist or photographer for example.

Let us know if you need any more info.

Kind Regards

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