Prado Raphael Symposium: Day 2 Report

June 28, 2012

The final day of the Raphael Symposium at the Prado was dedicated to Raphael's collaborators and his legacy. The day started with a discussion led by Dr. Tom Henry in front of the Visitation, responding to some of the questions raised in Christa Gardner von Teuffel's presentation on Day 1. This discussion between the scholars was fascinating to behold, and ultimately reinforced the contentious nature of attributions.

As per the Day 1 report, I will list the abstracts issued for each talk (where available), followed by brief note summarising audience reaction and discussion. The papers presented at the symposium are scheduled for publication in early 2013.

Session 1

David Franklin
Raffaellino del Colle and Giulio Romano

This paper explores the impact of Giulio Romano on one of his most valued assistants in Rome: Raffaellino del Colle. Born c.1494-97, Raffaellino appears to have arrived in Rome by the early 1520s and then returned permanently to his native Sansepolcro around the time Giulio left for Mantua in 1524. He took home with him an original cartoon by Giulio for the Santa Maria dell'Anima altarpiece, as well as numerous copies after drawings by Raphael, the record of which are reflected in works from Raffaellino's entire corpus, most particularly in the paintings of the Resurrection of Christ produced early in his career. It is even possible that Giulio made drawings directly to assist Raffaellino with some of these provincial commissions. An analysis of this influence discourages the notion that Raffellino had an independent distinguishable style in Giulio's Roman workshop, but was valued mostly for his technical skill.

This presentation brought Raffaellino into focus, emphasising his use of figures in copies of Raphael drawings as models for his own works. This offered a nice example of Raphael's legacy, from the early period soon after his death. An interesting point, only briefly noted, was that some of the figures in Raffaellino's Resurrection "recorded" copies of Raphael (and Giulio) drawings now perhaps lost. We can hope that this will be developed more fully in the symposium publication.

Arnold Nesselrath
Giovanni da Udine in Raphael's Workshop

Unfortunately, no abstract was provided for this talk. 

This was a stunning presentation on Giovanni da Udine, which brought him to the fore as one of Raphael's most gifted collaborators. Professor Nesselrath’s images cogently demonstrated Giovanni’s great technical skill as well as his innovations inside Raphael's workshop and beyond. He showed a drawing of musical instruments related to the wonderful depiction of these in the Santa Cecilia. This would seem to substantiate Vasari's account of Giovanni's involvement with this famous altarpiece.

Linda Wolk-Simon
Pellegrino da Modena

Pellegrino da Modena is one of the most enigmatic members of Raphael's workshop. Unlike Raphael's other followers, he is virtually unknown as a draftsman. Moreover, Vasari's brief Vita of the artist is curiously uninformative and lacking in descriptive detail. Paradoxically, few of the works in Rome mentioned in the biographer's short account survive, and others that appear with some degree of certainty to be by the artist go unmentioned. And the frescoes in the Serra Chapel, or Chapel of Saint James, in S. Giacomo degli Spagnuoli  - the major commission of Pellegrino's Roman career - exist in a severely compromised and partly obliterated state. This paper will attempt to bring Pellegrino da Modena into clearer focus by systematically assembling his Roman oeuvre on the basis the scant early source material, proposals advanced by modern scholars, and the addition of what are here identified as some hitherto unrecognized works by the artist.

Dr. Wolk-Simon continues her superlative work on Raphael and his workshop, this time focusing on the elusive Pellegrino da Modena. In this symposium, one of the emerging themes—and one that will continue to feature prominently in the ongoing study of Renaissance art—is the need to evaluate critically Vasari’s information regarding artists as presented in the two subsequent versions of his Vite. Dr. Wolk-Simon's approach to Vasari's handling of Pellegrino was soundly reasoned and supported by primary source documents and images. For those interested, Dr. Wolk-Simon's 2011 lecture on another Raphael workshop member, Perino del Vaga, is available at the Metropolitan Museum New York's YouTube channel link

Jan Sammer
Tommaso Vincidor and the Flemish Romanists

In the spring of 1520 Pope Leo X sent Raphael's pupil Tomasso Vincidor to Flanders with the mission to complete the design and oversee the production of a series of tapestries intended to decorate his Letto di Paramento at the Vatican Palace. Two of Vincidor's designs have survived in the form of the so-called Boughton House Cartoons. From these cartoons it is possible to to trace Vincidor's influence on the Flemish Romanists of the 1520s, particularly Bernaert von Orley and Jan Sanders van Hemessen. The influence of Raphael that is clearly noticeable in some of their works is not derived from Raphael's paintings directly, but rather from Vincidor's designs, which made liberal use of sketches made in Raphael's Roman studio prior to his departure.  The obvious derivation of the Brugge Virgin with Child  from the Great Holy Family of Francis I has led some scholars to postulate a visit by Hemessen to Fountainbleau in the 1530s. However, a close study of the details reveals that Hemessen was not influenced by Raphael's Great Holy Family directly ; the ultimate model for Hemessen's Virgin and Child was Raphael's cartoon of the Great Holy Family that remained in his Roman workshop, was engraved by Caraglio and/or Enea Vico and adapted by Vincidor for his tapestry cartoon. The influence of the same tapestry cartoon can be discerned in Van Orley's Holy Family at the Prado and in Brussels.

In this talk, the basic premise and the supporting images were fascinating, tracing Raphael's legacy into sixteenth century Flemish Romanist art. Unfortunately, Mr. Sammer's presentation was too long and delivered in a rushed manner, ultimately ending without a full and clear conclusion. The sequence of images was highly interesting, tracking the evolution and adaptation of elements from Raphael designs which were slightly revised by Vincidor. We can look forward to a more refined presentation (and conclusion) in the symposium publication next year.

Robert G. La France
Timoteo Viti and Raphael

Vasari characterised Timoteo Viti as a disciple of Raphael by pairing the artist with a minor follower (Vincenzo Tamagni) and shamelessly manipulating the chronology of Viti's career. Capitalizing on Vasari's distortions, Giovanni Morelli considered Viti to be Raphael's first teacher, a contriversial assertion that Bernard Berenson reluctantly accepted. Although most modern scholars now acknowledge Viti's seniority, the weight of Raphael's reputation has obscured our view of the elder atist. A closer examination of Viti's life and art clarifies as well as complicates the question of Viti's relationship with Raphael in a way that expands the traditional models of unidirectional stylistic influence implied by the terms teacher, pupil, and follower.

Professor La France's goal was to re-establish Timoteo Viti as an important artist in his own right. This involved deconstructing Vasari's biased representation of Viti, and re-establishing the influence of the Bolognese artist Francesco Francia in the development of both Viti and Raphael. La France made effective use of visual evidence and spoke clearly - one of the few speakers who seemed to acknowledge the presence of non-specialists in the audience. In the symposium publication, a more detailed appraisal of the relevant primary sources is expected.

Left to right Robert G. La France, Jan Sammer, Linda Wolk-Simon, Tom Henry, David Franklin and Arnold Nesselrath

Session 2

David Love
Gianfrancesco Penni: designs for overlooked panel paintings

Three similar designs for uncommon, ambiguously Christian/classical figures seem to have originated in Raphael's Roman workshop in the early 1510s. Known in the nineteenth century, they have received little attention since, but survive today as four intermediary drawings by or close to Raphael's problematic senior assistant, Gianfrancesco Penni, two small panel paintings, lost until recently, and three early prints.

It is proposed that the drawings extend our knowledge of Penni back by several years from his first securely datable work of c.1515 ; that the paintings and prints were derived from such drawings for a market below that served by Raphael personally ; and that their learnedly hybrid subjects, combining classicising form with contemporary politico-religious content, are particularly characteristic of the aims, taste and mode of expression of literati scholars and office holders in the Rome of Julius II, 'divus Julius', and Leo X, 'alter Apollo'.

This perceptive and visually rich presentation aims to liberate Gianfrancesco Penni from cumulative blame for the defects and failures in Raphael’s workshop production. Especially intriguing were the celebrations of antiquity by Popes Alexander VI, Julius II and Leo X. Mr. Love made a strong case for a systematic re-examination of Penni's contribution, since many previous attributions and interpretations were based on outdated evidence and assumptions.

Sylvia Ferino
Raphael's Saint Margaret in Vienna

Unfortunately, no abstract was provided for this talk.

Dr. Ferino’s talk was one of the few that examined technical evidence from paintings of this period, showing the confidently executed underdrawing in the Vienna version of the Saint Margaret. This drawing was made on the paint layer by a remarkably asssured hand, noted by the speaker to be unlike anything else ascribed to Giulio Romano. This prompted a question from the audience regarding the need for a standardised methodology in the technical examination of paintings. The speaker acknowledged this only partially, observing that it was "easier said than done."

It is worth noting that more technical data has been published regarding Raphael's working practises before Rome (link), so the current Prado-Louvre exhibition represents the most recent initiative to examine these later works with greater thoroughness.

Miguel Falomir
Raphael and Titian

Abstract (translated from the original in Spanish by Dr. Edward Goldberg)
Although they were nearly contemporaries, Raphael and Titian seem to correspond to two distinct moments in Renaissance painting. The disparate lengths of their lives and the unequal trajectories of their evolution contributed to this. Raphael died in 1520 at the age of 37, celebrated as one of the principal European artists, at a time when Titian was beginning his artistic career as a court artist far from Venice. Titian lived for yet another 56 years and when he died in 1576, his status had caught up to that of Raphael. Like him, he was the Italian artist with the widest reach in Europe and the most sought after by those in power, thereby representing the only alternative to Michelangelo. Although the influence of one artist on the other has occupied many historians, my objective is not to retiterate these formal and compositional analogies, but rather to establish how at a particular moment in his career, Titian modeled his image after that of Raphael.

Charles Dempsey
Raphael's legacy in Italy circa 1600

As implied by my title, I intend to concentrate on the fundamental importance of Raphael to the Caracci and their reform of art, with particular attention to two paintings by Raphael known by them in Bologna: The Sta. Cecilia and the Vision of Ezekiel. In particular, I shall be concerned with the contrasting views expressed by Malvasia and Bellori regarding the importance of Raphael to Annibale's art in particular.

I opted to summarise these last two talks together since their themes are closely related. While the preceding talks examined Raphael's legacy in terms of visual evidence and workshop activity, these final papers addressed Raphael's legacy from the perspective of literary and artistic criticism. Dr. Falomir provided some incidental examples of visual overlap between Titian and Raphael (specifically, in the execution of portraits), but his focus was primarly on literary discussions of the painters. He methodically collated sections of the biographies by Giorgio Vasari and Lodovico Dolce. (The latter wrote a biography of Titian, responding to Vasari’s claim of Michelangelo’s primacy. Vasari seemed to be perpetuating the Florentine and Roman bias towards draftsmanship and design over color.)

Professor Dempsey used no visuals in his presentation, focusing instead on the impact of Raphael as deduced from Bellori and Malvasia’s commentaries on the Caracci. We can imagine a collaboration between the final two presenters, resulting in wonderfully complementary themes, warmly received by the specialists in the audience. For non-specialists and members of the general public, Dr. Falomir and Professor Dempsey both made clear points regarding the enduring appeal of Raphael's works, exemplified by their grace and beauty – an assessment that any visitor to the exhibition can share.

Left to right David Love, Miguel Falomir, Paul Joannides, Charles Dempsey and Sylvia Ferino

Closing remarks and looking forward
The last two days were concisely and entertainingly summarised by Dr. Henry and Professor Joannides, the curators of the exhibition and chief authors of the substantive catalogue. A special mention must be made of Professor Carmen Bambach, whose consistent questioning of the panelists over the course of two days served to underline our responsibility to assess evidence seriously and consistently—while clarifying the language of art historical discourse, seeking alternatives to older (or broader) terms - one alternative she suggested was "pictorial intelligence" in the place of "quality" to describe differences between Giulio Romano's approach to creating an image compared against Raphael.

Tom Henry and Paul Joannides

One of the stated aims of this exhibition was to begin addressing the relative obscurity Raphael has suffered since the end of the nineteenth century. It is too early to comment on the overall success of the exhibitions at the Prado and then the Louvre. The symposium was a resounding success, I would say, in helping define the ongoing study that is needed to render a complete account of the astounding creative output of Raphael and his workshop.

For me, it was a wonderful experience at many levels. The decision to take some time away from my clinical work and travel across the world to Madrid at my own expense was not one I made lightly. Yet I felt it was necessary, not only because of my passion for the topic, but to give a clear example of what can be done to promote such events with web-based tools. The symposium publication will be addressed primarily to specialised readers. I feel that this online summary should be equally accessible to scholars, students and the interested public alike. It was an honour to meet some of the presenting scholars, whom I hope I may see again at some stage. Cheers to all those who have provided feedback, well wishes and support during the last few days, with special thanks to Gemma Garcia and Dr. Edward Goldberg.

Muchas gracias.
Hasan Niyazi
Thursday June 28 2012
Madrid, Spain


Edward Goldberg said...

Another terrific contribution! But now the real fun begins--just you and the Prado collection (awesome!) Plus Madrid with 40 degree temperatures and masses of Spanish food (both also awesome in their own ways).

Glennis said...

I'm so glad you got to go in the end!

Anonymous said...

I was unable to attend this conference, and was dismayed that I would have to wait a very long time to discover the essence of the topics presented.

A colleague informed me of your coverage, and I wanted to send a personal note of thanks for this amazing work! I can only fathom the amount of effort that has gone into this, yet you make it appear so effortless. I then read that you are doing this out of personal (rather than commercial) interest and was further amazed. How remarkable!

Bravo, and let's hope to see more of this type of modern coverage for conferences that are usually the furthest removed from such considerations!

Supremely grateful

Sedef said...

I think you are probably back by now but I just had to say THANK YOU! This was amazing. Your generosity of spirit for sharing your experiences here has brought them into focus for us too.

You should do this more often.

Alberti's Window said...

What great coverage! I'm so glad that you did this. Hopefully you will be able to set a precedent for future conference coverage on art history sites. It sounds like the trip was memorable and rewarding for you.

It's too bad that there wasn't an abstract provided for Dr. Ferino's talk on the Saint Margaret painting in Vienna. That talk sounds quite interesting.

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