Already in the early paintings, written before moving to Florence, the harmonious warehouse of talent inherent in Raphael had an effect, his ability to find perfect agreement of forms, rhythms, colors, movements, gestures – and in such small-format works, almost miniatures like Madonna Conestabile (c. 1502-03, Hermitage), “The Knight’s Dream” (c. 1504, National Gallery, London), “Three Graces” (Conde Museum, Chantilly), “St. George” (c. 1504, National Gallery, Washington) , and in a larger format “Mary’s Betrothal” (1504, Brera, Milan).
Florence period (1504-08)
Relocation played a huge role in the creative development of Raphael. Of primary importance to him was familiarity with the method of Leonardo da Vinci. Following Leonardo, he begins to work a lot from nature, studies anatomy, mechanics of movements, complex poses and camera angles, searches for compact, rhythmically balanced composition formulas. In the latest Florentine works of Raphael (“Position in the Sepulcher”, 1507, Borghese Gallery, Rome; “St. Catherine of Alexandria”, c. 1507-08, National Gallery, London), interest in the complex formulas of the dramatically excited movement developed by Michelangelo appears. The main theme of painting in the Florentine period is the Madonna and Child, which is dedicated to at least 10 works. Among them, three paintings that are close in compositional composition stand out: “The Madonna and the Pet of Gold” (c. 1506-07, Uffizi), “The Madonna and Green” (1506, Museum of the History of Art, Vienna), “The Beautiful Gardener” (1507, Louvre). Varying the same motive in them, portraying a young mother against the background of an idyllic landscape and small children playing at her feet – Christ and John the Baptist, he unites the figures with the steady, harmoniously balanced rhythm of the Composite pyramid, beloved by the masters of the Renaissance.
Roman period (1509-20)
Having moved to Rome, the 26-year-old master receives the position of “artist of the Apostolic See” and is instructed to paint the ceremonial chambers of the Vatican Palace, since 1514 he has been supervising the construction of the Cathedral of St. Petra, works in the field of church and palace architecture, in 1515 was appointed Commissioner of Antiquities, is responsible for the study and protection of ancient monuments, archaeological excavations.
Murals of the Vatican Palace
The central place in the work of this period is occupied by the murals of the ceremonial chambers of the Vatican Palace. The Stanza Murals della Senyatura (1509-11) is one of Raphael’s most advanced creations. The majestic multi-figure compositions on the walls (uniting from 40 to 60 characters) of Disputa (The Controversy of Communion), Athens School, Parnassus, Foundation of Canon and Civil Law and the four allegorical female figures on the vaults represent them Theology, philosophy, poetry and jurisprudence. Without repeating a single figure and pose, not a single movement, Raphael weaves them together with a flexible, free, natural rhythm, flowing from figure to figure, from one group to another. In the neighboring Stanza of Elidor (1512- 14), in the painting walls (“The Expulsion of Elidor from the Temple”, “The Miraculous Exodus of the Apostle Peter from the Dungeon”, “Mass in Bolsen”, “The Meeting of Pope Leo I with Attila”) and biblical scenes in the vaults are dominated by a plot-narrative and dramatic beginning, and pathetic excitement is growing , gestures, difficult counterposts, contrasts of light and shadow amplify. In the “Miraculous Exodus of the Apostle Peter from the Dungeon”, Rafael, with an unusual subtlety for the artist of Central Italy, conveys the complex effects of night illumination – the dazzling radiance surrounding the angel, the cold moonlight, the red flame of torches and their reflections on the guards’ armor. Among the best works of Raphael- monumentalists also include commissioned paintings by the banker and philanthropist Agostino Chigi of the vaults of the Chigi chapel (c. 1513-14, Santa Maria della Pache, Rome) and the fresco “Triumph of Galatea” (c. 1) full of pagan cheerfulness 514-15, Villa Farnesina, Rome. 1515-16 executed cartons for espaliers with episodes of the history of the apostles Peter and Paul (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) are stylistically close to the Stanz paintings, however, the first signs of the exhaustion of the classical style of Raphael appear in them , – features of cold perfection, fascination with a spectacular beginning, spectacular poses, an excess of gesticulation. To an even greater extent, this is characteristic of the frescoes of the Vatican Stanza del Incendio (1514-17), made according to the drawings of Raphael by his assistants Giulio Romano and J.F. Penny. The lightness, grace, and richness of imagination are distinguished by purely decorative paintings made by Raphael’s assistants according to his drawings in the Psyche hall of Villa Farnesin (c. 1515-16) and the so-called. The Loggias of Raphael of the Vatican Palace (1518-19).
In the Roman period, Raphael is much less likely to refer to the image of the Madonna, finding a new, deeper solution to it. In “Madonna della Sedia” (c. 1513, Pitti, Florence), a young mother in the clothes of a Roman commoner, little John the Baptist and Christ are connected together in a circular frame (tondo); Madonna, as it were, is trying to hide her son in her arms – a little Titan with a childishly serious look.