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Raphael’s hands

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by Anne Bloemacher


ABSTRACT: The artist’s hand has always been a crucial topic and a topos in art as well as in literature and philosophy. Conversely, Raphael’s hands have become a topos in their negation, in their quasi non-existence. The “Raphael without hands” was a concept established long before G.E. Lessing. It was conceived of in Raphael’s times, supposedly by the artist himself, and it was linked to a concept of creativity rooted in Antiquity. Raphael’s self-conception was indeed understood by following artists and taken up in a satirical way. In fact, after Enlightenment and French Revolution the concept of the “artist without hands” (and especially that of “Raphael without hands”) was negatively interpreted and mockingly criticized in terms of a re-evaluation of the master’s relation to his school.



The artist’s hand has always been a crucial topic and a topos in art as well as in literature and philosophy. In my essay I will examine Raphael’s hands as a topos inaugurated by the artist himself and taken up by following generations reflecting on the artist’s self-conception and workshop practice.

Raphael’s hands have become a topos in their negation, in their quasi non-existence. «Raphael without hands» – as such he was famously conceived of in the later 18th century by the poet and philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in his play Emilia Galotti. In the following I will point out that the “Raphael without hands” was a concept established long before Lessing. It was conceived of in Raphael’s times, supposedly by the artist himself, and it was linked to a concept of creativity rooted in Antiquity. Having outlined this I will turn to the later 16th  century to establish that Raphael’s self-conception was indeed understood by following artists and taken up in a satirical way. I will conclude my essay with an example of 19th century caricature showing us that the concept of the “artist without hands” and especially that of “Raphael without hands” was still valid but -after Enlightenment and French Revolution -negatively interpreted and mockingly criticized in terms of a re-evaluation of the master’s relation to his school.


I. Marcantonio Raimondi’s Portrait of Raphael:the “artist without hands” in early 16th century

In Marcantonio Raimondi’s engraved Portrait of Raphael [ill. 1][1], the emphasis of Raphael’s representation in his atelier clearly lies on the stage of invention, the process of developing an idea which takes place in the artist’s mind[2]. This is made obvious by the fact that his hands are not shown.


Raphael is located in the centre of the composition, on the lower of two steps. An empty canvas or prepared wooden support for a painting -a tabula rasa -stands to the right while an empty palette and little cups stand to the left. All these artistic objects sit on the upper step and are slightly cropped by the edges of the painting. The artist has his back to these painting materials. His body is turned to the left, his legs are slightly bent, and his arms seem to be folded under his wide coat. His face is turned to the viewer, but he does not actually look at him or her. He rather seems to be highly contemplative and absorbed in thought.

The emptiness of the canvas and the palette, enhanced by the almost unshaded white of the two surfaces[3] makes it clear that the artist is still in the stadium of invention, the genesis of an idea which takes place in his mind, before even starting to draw. Noticeably, his hands are not shown. They are completely wrapped beneath the wide coat, though his calves and feet are visible[4]. A quote by Plotinus might illuminate the significance of the hidden hands:

Then the block of stone formed by art into an image of the beautiful will appear beautiful not because it is a block of stone (for then the other one would be just as beautiful) but because of the shape art has lent to it. The material did not possess this shape, but it was in the mind of him who envisaged it before it came into the stone. And it resided in the artist’s mind, not insofar as he had eyes and hands, but only insofar as he partook of art[5].

Panofsky connects this sentence to the concept of the “artist without hands”, by suggesting that Raphael’s thoughts were considered more valuable than the paintings of the real Raphael[6]. Plotinus’ metaphor could well have been at the origin of the topos of “Raphael without hands”. Raimondi apparently gives the first visualisation of Plotinus’ statement in his Portrait of Raphael that eventually has to be ascribed to Raphael himself. Plotinus’ ideas were widely spread in the 16th century. The Enneads were his most famous and influential work during the Renaissance and likely discussed in the humanist circle to which Raphael belonged[7].


In scholarly literature, the engraved Portrait of Raphael has often been interpreted either in a nostalgic or dramatizing way. It has been argued that Raphael presages his imminent death[8], or in a more mundane fashion, that Raphael reposes from his strenuous work[9]. Neither of these two interpretations seems appropriate to this portrait. Instead, the depiction of Raphael as self-absorbed and extremely contemplative, even sad, relates to the conventional representations of melancholy, for which Dürer’s Melencolia I is the most famous contemporary example[10]. During the High Renaissance, melancholy was regarded as a distinct feature of ingenious men[11]. The ancient philosopher Theophrastus was the first to connect ingenuity and melancholy, in reference to his teacher Aristotle. Theophrastus stated that all exceptional men in politics, poetry, philosophy and the arts were melancholics. Due to the special composition of his humours, the melancholic is a person whose outstanding productivity can rapidly change into sombre reflection. This is due to the influence of Saturn, under whom the melancholic is supposed to have been born. After the concept of melancholy had been, for the most part, negatively defined in the Middle Ages[12], the theological interpretation receded during the Renaissance and melancholy came to be related to the ingenious human being. It thereby shifted to a literary and poetic interpretation[13]. Marsilio Ficino revisited the ancient concept of melancholy in the Renaissance. He combined Aristotle’s association of melancholia and ingenium (rendered by Theophrastus) and Plato’s mania which Cicero had developed into the doctrine that poetry is composed under furor or frenzy. As a result Ficino’s De Vita triplica of 1489 does not regard melancholy as something purely negative, but as physiologically necessary to reach those conditions in which ingenuity is possible[14]. According to Ficino, one can attain such ingenuity either by fleeing to Jupiter, the planet who turns the baneful influence of Saturn into a benevolent one, or by devoting oneself to divine contemplation[15]. Ficino thus underscored the melancholic's capacity for generating new ideas[16]. Although Ficino does not address artists, his ideas were applied to the visual arts by artists and others, in descriptions of artworks etc[17]. Only melancholic persons were regarded as being capable of inventive creativity in the visual arts[18]. A case in point is Raphael’s portrayal of Heraclitus in his School of Athens. The philosopher is represented in the typical pose of a melancholic: seated with his hand resting against his cheek [ill. 2][19].  Raphael’s Heraclitus is regarded as incorporating a portrait of Michelangelo[20]. This is confirmed by an anonymous artist’s engraving that dates a few years later, showing Michelangelo in a similar melancholic pose near a window [ill. 3][21].

Raimondi’s engraved Portrait of Raphael should be considered in light of the larger visual survey of the melancholic in Rome. The portrait of Michelangelo in the School of Athens shows that Raphael evoked the concept of the artist as a melancholic early in his Roman career[22]. The connection between the representation of Michelangelo as melancholic in Raphael’s School of Athens and Raimondi’s Portrait of Raphael is a further hint that the latter is meant to represent Raphael as a melancholic and thereby as an ingenious man. This interpretation is further underlined by the fact that Raphael was regarded as such a melancholic 'genius' by his contemporaries, as evinced by a letter from the Ferrarese legate Paolucci to Alfonso d’Este in 1519: Raphael «is inclined to melancholy, as all men of such extraordinary talents»[23]. The portrait of Michelangelo as Heraclitus in the School of Athens can also be interpreted as an attempt to raise the status of the artistic profession: the fact that the figure of Heraclitus was both identifiable as Michelangelo and integrated into the circle of philosophers on the steps leading up to Plato and Aristotle, suggests that Raphael was positioning Michelangelo’s work as an artist on a similar intellectual level as the work of philosophers. Raphael’s inclusion of Michelangelo as a philosopher in the School of Athens suggests that Raimondi’s Portrait of Raphael could be similarly interpreted. The portrait emphasizes the intellectual activity of invention as a central aspect of Raphael’s work as a painter. It illustrates how vitally important invention was in Raphael’s circle.


The emphasis on invention in the Portrait of Raphael relates to the use of the empty tablet in Raimondi’s prints after Raphael that likewise points out the importance of invention for Raphael’s work[24]. Raimondi signs some of his prints with a small tablet having a second inner line resembling a frame with a small handle on top [ill. 4][25]. He does not use this tablet as a frame for his monogram like Dürer, but deliberately leaves it blank[26]. This kind of tablet is an object existing since antiquity as a graphic medium and as a philosophical metaphor. From antiquity to the sixteenth century wax tablets were the most common medium for learning how to write (as being easily erasable), and also the medium -more important in our case -with which authors composed or invented their texts.[27] The use of wax tablets in antiquity was conveyed through a number of ancient texts, as for example Quintilian, who in his Institutio Oratoria recommends that the whole process of composition should be done on wax tablets[28]. In medieval art, wax tablets are used as an iconographic symbol for the act of composition[29]. By showing the tablet on his prints, Raimondi defines what the print «reproduces» or better translates: a stadium reflecting the artist’s composition-process[30]. Thus the empty tablet establishes a comparison between the artistic creation and that of texts in poetry and rhetoric -a common proceeding in Raphael’s and Raimondi’s times to raise the status of the visual arts and of the artist[31]. The connection between the wax tablet and engraving is obvious[32]. In both cases, the surface is incised with a metal stylus. The wax tablet is used for composing or developing an idea or invention; the engraving shows the products of this process of invention. Raimondi’s engravings with a blank tablet represent the inventive power of the artist.

Only after 1530 is invention used in theoretical texts about art to designate the artist’s composition[33]. Even if the term was not yet used in this context in the early sixteenth century[34], different phenomena show that the perception of the character of artistic activity was in flux and that the concept of inventio began to gain currency[35]. Significantly Raimondi was the first to use the word invenit in several of his prints after Raphael.The Massacre of the Innocents (B.XIV.18, «with the fir tree»), Raimondi’s famous engraving after Raphael of ca. 1512, seems to be the first print in the history of printmaking that openly comments on a division between inventor and an engraver[36]. The unprecedented usage of invenit in the Massacre of the Innocents shows that Raimondi was apparently pondering his role in the production of the prints shortly after having begun to work with Raphael. Thus, it is plausible that the concepts of imitation, idea and invention were discussed in Raphael’s Roman circle[37]. The emphasis on the artist’s idea brings his work into line with that of the poet: like a poet the artist has first of all to invent his topic in the form of a composition. The concept of the imitation of nature changes from a mere empirical mimesis (imitation) of nature -and choice -to the realization of an inner image, beheld by the artist[38]. To this inner image, to the process of invention the Portrait of Raphael without hands does allude.


In the following a second possible meaning of the empty tablet will be discussed that also connects it to the engraved portrait of Raphael. It lies in its emptiness: a tabula rasa was in Raimondi’s and Raphael’s times a widely used metaphor for both the unformed human mind and for the human soul. The motif of the tabula rasa can be traced back to ancient philosophy. Plato defines the human soul as an empty wax tablet in his dialog Theaitetos[39]. Aristotle compares the human intellect with an empty tablet in De Anima[40]. A close reading of Plato’s dialog between Socrates and Theaitetos proves useful in this context. After defining the soul as an empty tablet, Socrates proposes to imagine this wax tablet as a present from the mother of the muses, Mnemosyne, or Memory. «What we would like to remember, we imprint on the wax of the tablet. What is imprinted, we can remember and know, as long as its image exists. If it is erased or has not at all been imprinted, we forget the thing and do not know it (any longer)»[41]. The empty tablet, the tabula rasa, on Raimondi’s prints might allude to the act of imprinting Raphael’sinvention through engraving. All of Raphael’s inventions -used, abandoned or transformed during execution - were worthy of being executed and published, thereby being memorized or remembered. The empty tablet as a tabula rasa refers to this preservation of the artist’s invention that resulted from the appreciation of the artist’s ideas[42].

Raimondi’s use of the term invenit on some of his most important prints after Raphael is one evidence for the changing perception of the character of artistic activity: idea and inventio were increasingly considered important aspects of the painter’s work, thereby enhancing the status of painting as a liberal art. Raimondi used the empty tablet as a metaphor -the tabula rasa -alluding to his role as absorber and translator of Raphael’s inventions, and to his engravings as imprinted records of Raphael’s creative process. Invention, originally the category of rhetoric fundamental to the poet’s work, was absorbed by the painter as both the process of developing an idea and the result of that process. Invention takes place in the artist’s mind, and Raimondi emphatically depicted the intellectual activity of invention as integral part of Raphael’s work in his Portrait of Raphael ‘without hands’. This portrait emphasizes the ingenuity of the artist by representing him as a melancholic. It underscores the intellectual activity of excogitating an invention as an essential part of his working process. In his engravings Raimondi incises Raphael’s inventions and in this engraved portrait he incises the process of invention: the Portrait of Raphael therefore could be regarded as a self-reflexive work or at least -when put at the beginning of the use of the empty tablet on Raimondi’s engravings -as the initial moment of the conscious visualization of the importance of invention. By emphasizing not Raphael’s manual activities like drawing or painting, but his mental ones, the portrait alludes to the presumed working process in Raphael’s workshop[43]: In the collaborative genesis of a painting or fresco the artist increasingly constrained himself to invention, while his assistants elaborated his sketches and eventually executed them under the master’s control and supervision[44]. They became Raphael’s hands[45].


II. Raphael’s Hands in a Drawing by Bartolommeo Passerotti

A drawing by Bartolommeo Passerotti shows how Raphael’s self-conception was understood two generation later by a following artist. In this famous drawing of about 1570, commonly called Lesson of anatomy, we see Michelangelo performing a dissection, surrounded by groups of contemporary artists [Ill. 5][46]. For his representation of most of these artists Passerotti used as models the woodcut-portraits of Vasari’s second edition of the Vite, which allows us to identify them[47]. The drawing shows Michelangelo sitting on a stool in the center of the composition, in between the legs of the more reclining than properly lying corpse, holding the end of its bowel in his left hand and some leg muscles or fibresin his right hand[48]. He is turning backwards to Sebastiano del Piombo, sitting to his right and supposedly drawing while conversing with Michelangelo. Behind these two stands a yet unidentified figure[49], holding a statuette and a pen, not looking at the dissection or listening to Michelangelo, but glancing at a group of artists to his right. These artists build the second focus of the composition. In the center of this group we see Raphael at the corpse’s left side, holding its left arm. Raphael is seemingly explaining something to Giulio Romano who is standing to his left. Giulio is holding a tablet and is probably drawing. The man to Raphael’s right, who is also drawing, can be identified as Perino del Vaga. The person that we see behind Giulio’s left shoulder is Polidoro da Caravaggio[50]. Like Giulio Romano both belonged to Raphael’s circle.


Astoundingly enough Marcantonio Raimondi takes part in the dissection. His face is visible in between Raphael and Giulio Romano, standing directly behind Raphael and his foremost student. Raimondi is the only one to look directly at the beholder and therefore drawing attention to this group[51]. He is represented as belonging to the inner circle of Raphael (he is represented while others like Penni are missing) and as taking part in its “academic” activities. The drawing proves that Raimondi in these times was not regarded as a reproductive engraver and thus non-original craftsman as in later times, but as an artist being on the same level as the depicted painters and sculptors. This might be due to Vasari giving Raimondi a more important role in his second edition of the Vite. Yet it could also be related to Passerotti’s knowledge of the engraved Portrait of Raphael which shows that Raimondi was the one whom Raphael entrusted the visualization of his artistic self-conception. Passerotti must have known this engraving as the Raphael of his drawing was not drawn after Vasari’s woodcut-portrait, but after Raimondi’s Portrait of Raphael[52]. And he seems to have understood this portrait’s message, commenting it in a satirical way, as shall be elucidated in the following.

Raphael is standing beside the corpse and holding its hand as if he was visiting some sick person. This seems to caricature Vasari’s description of Raphael as a gentle being with refined manners who is compassionate with everyone[53]. Raphael does not grasp parts of the body like Michelangelo or Bandinelli. He treats the corpse like a person, not like a mere body. Concordantly the corpse looks strangely alive, suffering and peering upwards as if praying for some heavenly redemption. Passerotti’s caricatural rendering of Raphael’s “legendary” personality is attended by a comment on his supposed workshop practice: Raphael has come to the dissection with a whole bunch of pupils and assistants. They listen to his explanations and carry on drawing. Raphael is the head of the group, the master, giving instructions to his assistants about how to proceed. His hands are shown but they are used to explain, to show what he wants his assistants to do -not to draw. It is a reduced or rather a prosaic version of the self-image given by Raphael via his engraved portrait. At the same time the orator’s gesture of his right hand in Passerotti’s drawing differentiates his from Michelangelo’s and Bandinelli’s comportment, masters who are actively participating in the dissection. The painting of the same subject that is ascribed to the school of Passerotti or to Federico Zuccaro is of a completely different character [ill. 6][54]. It seems to be made after Passerotti’s drawing but in addition to the variance of more or less important details it shows the topic completely seriously. Passerotti’s wit is gone, no caricatural elements are seen, and no allusions are made. The comparison of painting and drawing makes Passerotti’s irony in the drawing even more obvious.


III. “Raphael without hands”: an example of 19th century caricature

While in Passerotti’s drawing Raphael’s hands are explicitly shown to differentiate him from the other leading masters of his times and to point out the characteristics of his workshop practice, the 18th century takes up the motif of the “Raphael without hands”. It became widespread by Lessing’s play Emilia Galotti, which premiered in 1772. In this play the painter Conti asks: Would Raphael not have been the greatest genius in painting if he had been born without hands? This question reflects a discussion about the artist and his work and about the concept of genius of the 18th century. Possibly Lessing knew Raimondi’s engraving and was inspired with it to formulate his famous phrase on Raphael[55].


A caricature of 1844 [ill. 7], which shall be analyzed in the following, shows a different perspective on “Raphael without hands” and the underlying concept of the artist’s work. It was published in J. J. Grandville’s Un Autre monde of 1844, a book literally inventing another world by presenting odd theories and at the same time criticizing the world of its own days[56]. The respective caricature is an illustration of the chapter “Le Royaume des Marionettes”, in which Grandville mocks contemporary painters, their working practice, and their social role. The image shows an artist sitting on his hobbyhorse Raphael. The identification of Raphael is given by Grandville himself: «Dans un atelier voisin, je trouvai un autre peintre à califourchon sur son dada raphaélesque, occupé à calquer des pieds et des jambs sur de vieilles peintures. C’était assurément un grand maître car il avait une longue suite d’élèves». The painter sitting on his hobbyhorse Raphael might be identified as Ingres[57]. His admiration of Raphael was renowned and a frequent topic in caricature and criticism[58]. There had already been caricatures of him in the attire of Raphael with the short Renaissance-dress and the characteristic headgear[59] as well as satirical texts criticizing and mocking his Raphaelism[60]. He had also been frequently criticized for his great amount of pupils to which the last sentence of Grandville’s just cited description refers to.

Ingres, having the “facial” features of an ape, is sitting on Raphael’s back. He literally entails a bunch of pupils, who are sitting on the hobbyhorse’s tail. The pupils behind Ingres become smaller and smaller. The ones closest to Ingres look like reduced copies of their master, whereas in the following pupils we can observe a physiognomic change: the apelike figures -and the ape is at least somehow similar to a human being -develop into another species, looking very much like rats. They are not only reduced in size, but also in status: from the manlike ape to the rat, being the animal that devours anything it might get hold of. It nourishes on waste. The ape has a more elaborate metaphorical meaning: art was considered as the ape of nature from the Middle Ages, because it imitates nature. The artist’s skill was regarded as essentially imitative and became linked with the animal known for its imitativeness. Here the ape is represented in a double meaning: as the imitation of imitation. Ingres as the master is not different from his pupils: in a way he is only the first of the apes, the one to receive the commands of Raphael, a “Raphael without hands” who seems to be Ingres’ head. His ideas are conveyed to Ingres’ hands. Accordingly to Grandville’s text cited above the painter traces a work of Raphael. He does this with a kind of enormous tool that resembles a chisel rather than a drawing medium. The chisel could refer to him not even being sure about his medium. In one of the other caricatures illustrating the chapter on the artist such an instrument is used by a kind of robot to make a sculpture[61]. Ingres is depicted as a blind follower of Raphael and his pupils or assistants as blind followers of the blind follower. Ingres is not Raphael, but a kind of copy of Raphael.He imitates Raphael, and his pupils imitate imitations, and the ones who imitate imitations of imitations are -according to Grandville’s caricature -devouring waste.

Ingres is only executing, his intellect being not at all important for his actions, just his hands. In this regard the caricature almost appears as a reversal of the Portrait of Raphael that explicitly emphasizes the intellectual activity of the artist not using his hands. Not even seeing is important for Ingres’ work, as he is blindfolded[62]. Vision as imagination and creation seems just as little important for the French master’s work as vision in the simple sense of seeing. Hence, the quintessence of artistic creation is negated. With the obliteration of these human aspects of art making, the artist works like a machine. Like the robot-like creature in the background, a kind of pantograph that is able to accomplish two equal drawings, original and copy, simultaneously. Interestingly enough, the drawing-machine, that has human qualities, seems to be more alive than the artist in the foreground. This seems to parody one of the most basic topoi of art since the Renaissance: the enlivenment of the artwork. Ingres with that huge tool with which he is tracing Raphael, destroys him eventually by only copying fragments -here it is a leg -and putting them together afterwards for a new composition. This is yet another mocking of the “Raphael without hands”: Raphael in this caricature cannot defend himself of being copied and cannot defend his work of being used as fragments.

The caricature not only mocks Ingres’ devotion to Raphael, but also criticizes his workshop practice and concordantly Raphael’s workshop practice. In the caricature Raphael is still exerting influence, he is the one whose ideas, whose vision is traced and executed. From early on in his professional life as the director of the Roman Academy Ingres was criticized for his influence on the pensionnaires and for having a large number of students[63]. In this regard an interesting connection to Raphael is made in an article of the Charivari on Ingres’ frescos in the Church Saint-Vincent-de-Paule. The author states that Ingres wanted his best student to work together with him, but when this student wanted to sign his part of the work, Ingres was enraged and would not have allowed it. The Charivari’s commentary to that reads:

We live in a time of equality, thanks God! It is already bad enough that the power has distablished the liberal principle of the Concours and distributes the commissions to whom they want to give them and this to the detriment of artists who are more competent [...]. No, we aren’t living anymore under tyranny and absolutist kingdoms. We still have kings, but constitutional kings. There is no more Louis XIV, neither in politics nor in art, who would say: L’Etat, c’est moi. There is no more sun to outshine the stars. No, we are not living in the times of Raphael and Michelangelo when the master dominated, absorbed, and represented the whole art himself. We have no more Geniuses, but we have hundreds of talents. And if M. Ingres is neither a Raphael nor a Michelangelo, he is yet strong enough to be fair, to acknowledge help from the one who gave it to him, to eventually render to Antonius, what is not Caesar’s[64].

The division of head and hand, of invention and execution is compared to the absolutist regime, the Renaissance genius to the almighty king. In the eyes of 19th century critics like Grandville and the author of the Charivari-article, Ingres had adopted Raphael’s self-conception “of an artist without hands”. What for Raphael was an accomplishment reflecting a revolution of the artist’s status, for 19th century criticism was an overcome model.




1. Marcantonio Raimondi after Raphael, Portrait of Raphael, engraving, ca. 136x106 mm

2. Raphael, Schoolof Athens, fresco, Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican, Detail: Heraclitus

3. Anon., Portrait of Michelangelo, dated 1522, engraving, 142x88 mm

4. Marcantonio Raimondi after Raphael, The last Supper, engraving, ca. 295 x 433 mm

5. Bartolomeo Passerotti, Michelangelo’s Lesson of anatomy, drawing, 38,5 x 49,8 cm, Département des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. 8472r

6. School of Bartolomeo Passerotti, Michelangelo’s Lesson of anatomy, about 1575-79, oil on canvas, 42 x 52 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome inv. 460

7. Illustration out of the chapter “Royaume des Marionettes” in J.J. Grandville’s Un autre monde, Ed. Fournier, Paris, 1843-44, p. 78



[1]Marcantonio Raimondi, Portrait of Raphael, B.XIV.496, engraving, ca. 136x106 mm. Most scholars accept the identification of the portrayed artist as Raphael, cfr. C. Malvasia, Felsina Pittrice: Vite de Pittori bolognesi, Bologna 1678, vol. I, 71; K.H. von Heinecken, Nachrichten von Künstlern und Kunstsachen, 2 vols., Leipzig 1768-1769, vol. 2, 1769, pp. 336-337; A. von Bartsch, Le Peintre-Graveur, Wien 1802-1822, vol. XIV, 1813, 369f.; W.H. von Lepel (Tauriscus Euboeus), Catalogue des estampes gravées d'après Rafael, Frankfurt am Main 1819, p. 33, n. 1; E. Müntz, Raphael, sa vie, son œuvreet son temps, Paris 1886, p. 659; H. Wagner, Raffael im Bildnis, Bern 1969, p. 87f.; G. Morelli, cat. 43, in Raffaello in Vaticano. exh. cat., Città del Vaticano 1984, ed. F. Mancinelli, Milano 1984, p. 67; D. Landau, P. Parshall, The Renaissance Print 1470-1550, New Haven-London 1994, p. 121; sceptic is H. Delaborde, Marc-Antoine Raimondi. Etude historique et critique suivie d'un catalogue raisonné des œuvres du maître, Paris 1888, pp. 23, 34f., 254, n. 233f.. The resemblance to the only evidenced self-portrait in the School of Athens (1510, Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican, Rome, Fresco, ca. 770 cm length of basis), in which Raphael is standing on the right-most position, near the fresco’s outside edge, and to the Louvre-“Double-Portrait” (1520, Musée du Louvre, Paris, Oil on canvas, 99 x 83 cm) argue for the identification of the person represented to be Raphael, cfr. Wagner, Raffael, cit., p. 14. For literature on the Stanza della Segnatura, cfr. C. Höper et all., Raffael und die Folgen. Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit, Stuttgart 2001, p. 369. For further information on the Double Portrait see C. Gould, Raphael’s double portrait in the Louvre: an identification for the second figure, in «Artibus et historiae», 5, 1984, pp. 57-60 and K. Oberhuber, Raffael - Das malerische Werk, München 1999, p. 202f.

[2]Astoundingly enough, the portrait until recently has never been analyzed in detail as an “artist-portrait”, containing information on how the artist saw himself or was seen by others; For first interpretation in this regard, cfr. A. Bloemacher, Raphael and Marcantonio Raimondi – the empty tablet as a plurivalent sign, in «Chicago Art Journal» 18, 2008, p. 20-41; H. Gründler, cat. 8, in Disegno. Der Zeichner im Bild der Frühen Neuzeit, exh. cat., Berlin 2007, edd. H.-Th. Schulze Altcappenberg, M. Thimann, Berlin 2007, p. 72.

[3]As the light falls in from the right, the canvas should actually be in the shadow.

[4]There is another engraving by Marcantonio showing a seated woman with her hands hidden under a coat (B.443; ca. 102x76 mm). It is commonly entitled Meditation. As there exists a copy in which a book is added on the knees of the woman, it is not clear, if this engraving was originally meant to show a religious context or person, eg. Saint Mary Magdalene. Her pose and closed eyes might rather refer to self-absorption in prayer, which cannot be applied to the Raphael-Portrait as the artist is shown with open eyes and in a rather “relaxed” pose that would not be appropriate for prayer.

[5]Enneades, I. 6. 1. Translation of the Greek original by E. Panofsky, IDEA. A concept in Art Theory, (1960), 2nd revised edition, Columbia 1968, p. 30.

[6]Ibidem. Panofsky does not explain when this interpretation came up for the first time.

[7]The Enneads were translated into Latin, commented by Marsilio Ficino and printed in 1492. For the reception of Plotinus in Renaissance cfr. D. O’Meara, Plotinus. An Introduction to the Enneads, Oxford 1993, pp. 89, 115ff.

[8]Ivi, p. 88. 

[9]Morelli, Raffello in Vaticano, cit., p. 67.

[10]Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I,(B.VII.174), ca. 241x188 mm.

[11]E. Panofsky, Artist, Scientist, Genius: Notes on the ‘Renaissance-Dämmerung’, in Id., The Renaissance: Six Essays, New York/Evanston 1962, pp. 121-182, p. 172.

[12]An example would be melancholy as an illness, or acedia, which affected monks especially and was regarded as a sin.

[13]Cfr. “Melancholie”, in Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, edd. J. Ritter, K. Gründer, Basel-Stuttgart 1980, vol. 5, col. 1038-1043. Theophrastus’ definition is bequeathed in the pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata physica; on melancholy in artistic terms see R. Wittkower, M. Wittkower, Born under Saturn. The Character and Conducts of artists. A documented History from Antiquity to the French Revolution, London 1963, especially chapter 5, p. 98ff.

[14]Cfr. A. Chastel, Marsile Ficin et l’art, Geneva 1954, p. 165 and M. Kemp, The 'super-artist' as Genius: The Sixteenth-Century View, in Genius. The History of an Idea, ed. P. Murray, Oxford/New York 1989, p. 38.

[15]Ivi, pp. 32-53, 34.

[16]Ivi, p. 39.

[17]Chastel, Marsile Ficin, cit., p. 168f.

[18]Wittkower, Wittkower, Born under Saturn, cit., p. 99.

[19]As such Heraclitus was already described by Theophrastus, according to Diogenes Laertus; Diogenes Laertus, The Lives and Opinions of eminent Philosophers, translated by C.D. Yonge, London 1853, book IX, section V. Ficino, who might have been the source for the Heraclitus as melancholic in Raphael’s fresco, takes up this description. Camesasca shows Raimondi’s Portrait of Raphael together with the engraved Portrait of Michelangelo and the Heraclitus-Michelangelo of the School of Athens as representations of the artist as melancholic, cfr. E. Camesasca (ed.), Raphael. Gli Scritti. Lettere, firme, sonetti, saggi tecnici e teorici, Milano 1993, p. 20ff.

[20]Cfr. D. Redig de Campos, Raffaello e Michelangelo, Roma 1946, pp. 83-98, especially p. 84f.

[21]Anon., Portrait of Michelangelo, dated 1522, engraving, 142x88 mm; the inscription on the engraving says that it shows Michelangelo Buonarroti at the age of twenty-three («Micha.Ange. Bonarotanus. Florentinus. Sculptor optimus anno aetatis sue. 23»). The compositional arrangement recurs on the engraving Vision of St. Helen by Raimondi after Raphael, (B.XIV.460), about 1515-1520, 152x93 mm.

[22]Perhaps the drawing Raimondi used for his engraving emerged out of the composition process of the School of Athens, when the figure of Heraclitus-Michelangelo was developed: it is intriguing that both are sitting on the lower or lowest of several steps.

[23]«[…] perché invero li homini de questa excellentia s[ono?] Tuti del melencolico»; the letter is dated September, 17, 1519, see J. Shearman, Raphael in early modern sources 1483-1602, 2 vols., New Haven-London 2003, here vol. 1, p. 481s.

[24]The empty tablet, which begins to appear on a number of Raimondi’s engravings around 1514 or 1515 is one of the most intriguing aspects of his prints after Raphael. For a discussion of the scholarly literature on Raimondi’s empty tablet and on its use as a plurivalent sign on his prints cfr. Bloemacher, Marcantonio Raimondi and Raphael, cit., pp. 25-28.

[25]Marcantonio Raimondi after Raphael, The last Supper, engraving, ca. 295 x 433 mm.

[26]The use of tablets as frames for an artist’s signature or monogram were quite usual, cfr. Mantegna and Pollaiuolo who use it in the form of a tabula ansata.

[27]R.H. Rouse, M.A. Rouse, Wax tablets, in «Language and Communication. An Interdisciplinary Journal» 9, 1989, pp. 175-191, p. 175. The authors point out, that the wax tablet belongs to the process of composition, to the history of the text that precedes the author’s fair copy; cfr. as well J. Meder, Die Handzeichnung. Ihre Technik und Entwicklung, (1919), 2nd revised edition, Wien 1923, p. 164.

[28]Quintilianius, Marcus Fabius, Institutionis oratoriae libri duodecim, ed. M. Winterbottom, 2 vols, Oxford 1970, here vol. 2, 10.3.20.

[29]Rouse, Rouse, Wax tablets, cit., p. 177. The authors list several examples, where the wax tablets or rather the fact that the represented persons are composing, are not directly mentioned in the illustrated texts and therefore might be interpreted as an iconographic sign for the act of composition.

[30]The idea of using the empty tablet might as well have emerged in the Humanist circle that Raphael adhered to. At Leo X.’s court the most outstanding humanists and erudites gathered, and with some of them, for example Bembo and Castiglione, Raphael had already been into contact at Urbino; the program of the Stanza della Segnatura was elaborated by the humanists Tommaso Inghirami, who was later on portrayed by Raphael, and Egidio da Viterbo; cfr. Raffaello e la Roma dei Papi, exh. cat., Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana,  Città del Vaticano 1985/1986, ed. G. Morelli, Roma 1986, pp. 35, 68ff., 74ff. Preimesberger emphasizes the papal court’s intellectual incentive on Raphael, cfr. R. Preimesberger, Tragische Motive in Raffaels Transfiguration, in «Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte», 50, 1987, pp. 89-115, here p. 110.

[31]Already in antiquity, painting was compared to poetry (Plato, Aristoteles, Horaz) and to Rhetorics (Cicero), based on the concept of imitation, that underlies both activities. Nevertheless painting did not gain the status of a liberal art. As art was regarded as labour, and not mental activity, artists had a low social status. Since the end of the 14th century we find repeatedly the claim that painting should be defined as a liberal, and not as a mechanical art. Cfr. P.O. Kristeller, Humanismus und Renaissance, ed. E. Kessler, 2 vols., München 1974 and 1976, here vol. 2, 1976, pp. 169, 175ff. Besides Horace’s Ars Poetica, Aristotle’s Poetics was authoritative for the development of these ideas, cfr. R.W. Lee, Ut pictura poesis. The Humanistic Theory of Painting, in «The Art Bulletin», 22, 1940, pp. 197-269, p. 199. Raphael probably knew Aristotle’s Poetics even before he came to Rome, C. Wagner, Farbe und Metapher: die Entstehung einer neuzeitlichen Bildmetaphorik in der vorrömischen Malerei Raphaels, Berlin 1999, p. 413. Some theorists and artists, in the first place Leonardo, even argued for visual representation as being more powerful and nobler than the writing, introducing the so-called paragone (comparison) of the arts; cfr. M. Kemp, Behind the Picture. Art and Evidence in the Italian Renaissance, New Haven-London 1997, p. 26ff.

[32]This was perhaps especially important for Raimondi whose technique of engraving was probably not as valued as painting was.

[33]W. Braunfels, Die «inventio» des Künstlers. Reflexionen über den Einfluss des neuen Schaffensideals auf die Werkstatt Raffaels und Giorgiones, in Studien zur toskanischen Kunst, Festschrift für Ludwig Heinrich Heydenreich zum 23. März 1963, ed. W. Lotz, München 1964, pp. 20-28, here p. 20. The term inventio is used in this sense for example in Vasaris Lives, cfr. Vasari on technique, translated by L.S. Maclehose, ed. G. Baldwin Brown, (1907), New York 1960, p. 210 and in Lomazzo’s Trattato dell’arte della pittura  (On the art of painting) of 1589, cfr. Lee, Ut pictora poesis, cit., p. 238. Pinelli defines the artist’s invenzione as consisting in the translation of the subject into the figurative language of the image, cfr. A. Pinelli, Intenzione, invenzione, artifizio. Spunti per una teoria della ricezione dei cicli figurativi di età rinascimentale, in Programme et invention dans l’art de la Renaissance, ed. M. Hochmann et all., Paris 2008, pp. 27-79, here p. 29f.

[34]Inventio is originally and since antiquity a basic category of Rhetorics and means according to Cicero finding thoughts to make your argument probable; cfr. A. Hügli, “Inventio”, in Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, ed. J. Ritter, Darmstadt 1971-2007, here t. 4 I-K, column 548. The first Humanist to apply it to the fine arts in the early modern period was Guarino Guarini da Verona. In a letter of 1446 he states that the artist has to find what he has before his inner eye (inventio), to arrange these findings (dispositio) and finally to embroider them (elocutio) Guarino Guarini da Verona, Epistolario, ed. R. Sabbadini, Venice 1915-19, vol. 2, p. 460. Cfr. U. Pfisterer, (ed.), Die Kunstliteratur der italienischen Renaissance. Eine Geschichte in Quellen, Stuttgart 2002, p. 164. This comparison meant to elevate the work of the “artist” or rather craftsman, the term more appropriate for these times, from mere craft to an intellectual operation. Nevertheless, the term inventio in this context is hardly to be found in theories of art of the 15th and early 16th centuries, it is rather used to denominate a technical, not a conceptional invention; Braunfels, Die «Inventio» des Künstlers, cit, p. 20. The artist, following the traditional Aristotelian concept of mimesis, does not create something completely new, but turns to nature and other works of art as his models; H. Blumenberg, Nachahmung der Natur. Zur Vorgeschichte des schöpferischen Menschen, in Wirklichkeiten, in denen wir leben, Stuttgart 1981, pp. 55-103. Alberti is sometimes credited with elaborating inventio in the new sense, as preeminent of the painter’s achievement (cfr. P. Emison, Invention and the Italian Renaissance Print, Mantegna to Parmigianino, New York, N.Y., Columbia University, Phil. Diss. 1985, p. 5ff.), but it is not entirely clear if he really conceived it as the intellectual operation of the artist generating ideas to excogitate a work of art as he does not refer to fantasia or imaginatio in his writings; cfr. Bätschmann, Leon Battista Alberti, cit., p.82ff. and Braunfels, Die «Inventio» des Künstlers, cit, p. 20.

[35]Ibidem; Bätschmann, Leon Battista Alberti, cit., p. 86.

[36]Braunfels, Die «Inventio» des Künstlers, cit, p. 20. Landau regards Marcantonio’s Climber (B.XIV.488) after Michelangelo’s cartoon for the Battle of Cascina as the first example, because he dates it around 1509, cfr. Landau in The Renaissance print, cit., p. 144, but in comparison to the dated engraving The Climbers (B.XIV.487; 1510) after the same model, The Climber (B.488) has to be dated years later, regarding its technique and style (e.g. the strong light and dark contrasts, the rather summary treatment of the rocks and underground, the rendition of the hair in a very sculptural manner, cfr. Marcantonio’s engraving Hercules and Antaeus, B.XIV.346, ca. 1520). Interestingly enough, Raimondi uses here MA as his monogram instead of MAF. Perhaps he was not sure if fecit would be the adequate description of what he was doing, as fecit had been applied for a long time for what an artist did, when there was no conceptual distinction between invention and execution regarding the achievement of an artist; cfr. Bloemacher, Raimondi and Raphael, cit., p. 31ff.

[37]For instance Pietro Bembo and Giovanni Francesco Pico della Mirandola debated the concept of imitation and idea. Pico argues for a rhetorical ideal that is independent from Cicero: more important than dispositio and elocutio for oratory is inventio, whereas Bembo discusses imitation on the level of style: the complete structure of a literary ideal example should be imitated; cfr. G. Pochat, Rhetorik und bildende Kunst in der Renaissance, in Renaissance-Rhetorik. Renaissance Rhetoric, ed. H.F. Plett, Berlin-New York 1993, pp. 266-284, here p. 274f. Raphael had at least contact to Bembo, as the latter belonged to the papal court as well; cfr. Bloemacher, Raimondi and Raphael, cit., p. 33f.

[38]Pochat, Rhetorik und bildende Kunst, cit., p. 274.

[39]Platon, Theaitetos 191 c:«kêrinon ekmageion, apotypousthai», cfr. D. Bostock, Plato’s Theaetetos, Oxford 1988, p. 177ff.

[40]Aristoteles, De Anima, III, 4, 429 b 30f.:«hoti dynamei pôs esti ta noêta ho nous, all' entelecheia ouden, prin an noê. dei d' houtôs hôsper en grammateiô hô mêden hyparchei entelecheia gegrammenon» (What it [the mind] thinks must be in it just as characters may be said to be on a writing tablet on which as yet nothing actually is written: this is exactly what happens with mind). Aegidius Romanus is the first one to translate Aristoteles greek grammateioninto the latin tabula rasa, cfr. “Tabula Rasa“, in Wörterbuch der philosophischen Begriffe, ed. by R. Eisler, 3 vols., 4th edition, Berlin 1930, vol. 3, p. 208. Concerning the knowledge of those texts in Raphael’s time, which is also revealed by the painting Madonna di Foligno, cfr. Bloemacher, Raimondi and Raphael, cit, p. 35ff.

[41]Platon, Theaitetos, 191d-e.

[42]The shared motif of the “tabula rasa” on a number of Raimondi’s prints after Raphael and on the Madonna di Foligno shows that he was in close contact to the Raphael-circle and inspired by the ideas and concepts debated there: Raphael and Raimondi’s relationship and collaboration seems to have been closer than often assumed.

[43]That Plotinus’ statement on the artist might be interpreted likewise can be deduced from his further definition of production as contemplation in the Enneades (especially Ennead III.8 [30]. 1-7: acting and making are subordinate to contemplation, they are by-products or side-effects of contemplation), cfr. ivi, p. 72ff. Furthermore, according to Plotinus the artist’s works are materialized expressions of the beauty that is intellect, ivi, p. 95.

[44]Concerning Raphael’s workshop practice, cfr. lately J. Meyer zur Capellen, Raphael. A critical Catalogue of his Paintings, 2 vols, Landshut 2005, vol. 2: The Roman religious Paintings, ca. 1508-1520, pp. 7-13, 19ff.; B. Talvacchia, Raphael’s workshop and the Development of a Managerial Style, in The Cambridge Companion to Raphael, ed. M.B. Hall, Cambridge 2005, pp. 167-185 and R. Williams, The artist as Worker in Sixteenth-Century Italy, in Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro. Artist-Brothers in Renaissance Rome, exh. cat., Los Angeles 2007/2008, Los Angeles 2007, pp. 95-104.

[45]The engraved Portrait of Raphael “without hands” then could be a very early documentation of this working process, coming directly out of Raphael’s workshop.The awkward positioning of the artist on the steps and the obvious difficulties in representing his arms and legs under the coat could speak for Marcantonio as the draughtsman. A drawing showing Raphael in a similar context, contemplating some papers on a table, Raphael as Architect, is attributed to Timoteo Viti, one of Raphael’s assistants, cfr. Wagner, Raphael, cit., p. 85ff. and fig. 58. As this drawing resembles the Portrait of Raphael regarding figure style, the uncertainty in rendering the extremities under the clothing and the awkward sitting position of Raphael, Viti could also be the draughtsman of Marcantonio’s model.

[46]Bartolomeo Passerotti, Michelangelo’s Lesson of anatomy, pen in brown ink, washed, traits of underdrawing with stylus, carbon and metalpoint on paper, 38,5 x 49,8 cm, Département des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. 8472r. In the Musées Napoléons it was at first attributed to Bandinelli, then to Passerotti, as Jabach had had already suggested. This attribution was held by the following scholars (cfr. C. Höper, Bartolomeo Passarotti (1529-1592), Worms 1987, 2 vols, here vol. 2, p. 274 for bibliography). Höper is the first one to break with this attribution; she gives it to Lucio Massari, a student of Passerotti (ibidem). Herrmann-Fiore attributes it to Federico Zuccaro (K. Herrmann-Fiore, Federico Zuccari: 'La Pietà degli angeli', il prototipo riscopertodel fratello Taddeo e un’ “Anatomia degli artisti”, Roma 2001, pp. 64-72), but Cordellier as well as Ghirardi stick to the attribution to Passerotti; D. Cordellier, cat. entry, in Il Cinquecento a Bologna. Disegni dal Louvre e dipinti a confronto, exh. cat., Bologna 2002., ed. M. Faietti, Bologna-Milano 2002,pp. 346-349; A. Ghirardi, Bartolomeo Passerotti, il culto di Michelangelo e l’anatomia nell’età di Ulisse Aldovrandi, in Rappresentare il Corpo. Arte e anatomia da Leonardo all’Illuminismo, exh. cat., Bologna 2005, ed. G. Olmi, Bologna 2005, pp. 151-164, here p. 153.

[47]Prinz pointed out, that the woodcut-portraits in Vasari’s second edition of the Vite had been taken as a model for the artist-portraits in the drawing. Thus the terminus post quem for the drawing would be 1568; W. Prinz, La seconda edizione del Vasari e la comparsa di “vite” artistiche con ritratti, in «Il Vasari. Rivista d’arte e di studi rinascimentali», 24, 1963, pp. 1-14, p. 13.

[48]Steinmann identified Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto and Baccio Bandinelli; E. Steinmann, Die Porträtdarstellungen des Michelangelo, Leipzig 1913, p. 80f. Passerotti’s Portrait of Michelangelo in the Galleria Hans, Hamburg(oil on poplar, 88,5 x 74 cm) and his drawn portrait of the same in the British Museum (inv. 1895-9-15-1025) confirm the identification of Michelangelo in the Paris drawing. Ghirardi attributes the painted portrait to Passerotti due to stylistic reasons and dates it about 1572-75; Ghirardi, Bartolomeo Passerotti, il culto di Michelangelo, cit., p. 151. The Gallery Hans attributes the painting to Sebastiano del Piombo.

[49]For Wagner this person is to be identified as a sculptor, most probably as Lorenzetto or Ricciarelli; Wagner, Raffael, cit., p. 91.


[51]There are two more groups, one at the left edge of the image, quite close to the foreground and to the dissection, showing great interest in it. This group is shown as more important by Passerrotti than the second group in the background to the right edge of the image. The latter group shows no interest in the dissection but is contemplating, drawing and discussing a sculpted figure. According to Wagner this group comprises Venetian artists, while the first one groups Florentine artists (ibidem). Conclusively Passerotti might allude to the fact that the Florentines are more interested in understanding the body to represent it in a lifelike way.

[52]Ibidem. This is also the reason why Raphael is much younger than his students and colleagues.

[53]«[…] il quale, con tutta quella modestia e bontà che sogliono usar coloro che hanno una certa umanità di natura gentile, piena d'ornamento e di graziata affabilità, la quale in tutte le cose sempre si mostra onoratamente […]. Di costui fece dono la natura a noi, essendosi di già contentata d'essere vinta dall'arte per mano di Michele Agnolo Buonarroti, e volse ancora per Rafaello esser vinta dall'arte e dai costumi», G. Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori nelle redazioni del 1550 e 1568, edd. R. Bettarini, P. Barocchi, 6 vols., Firenze 1966-1987, here vol. IV, p. 155; «[…] dove per adverso in Rafaello chiarissimamente risplendevano tutte le egregie virtù dello animo, accompagnate da tanta grazia, studio, bellezza, modestia e costumi buoni […]», ivi, p. 156, and towards the end of the vita Vasari states: «E questo avveniva perché restavano vinti dalla cortesia e dall'arte sua, ma più dal genio della sua buona natura: la quale era sì piena di gentilezza e sì colma di carità, che egli si vedeva che fino agli animali l'onoravano nonché gli uomini. Dicesi che ogni pittore che conosciutol'avesse, et anche chi non lo avesse conosciuto, se lo avessi richiesto di qualche disegno che gli bisognasse, egli lasciava l'opera sua per sovvenirlo; e sempre tenne infiniti in opera, aiutandoli et insegnandoli con quello amore che non ad artifici, ma a figliuoli proprii si conveniva […]»; ivi, p. 211.

[54]The painting is kept at the Galleria Borghese in Rome (about 1575-79, oil on canvas, 42 x 52 cm, inv. 460). In the Borghese-Inventory it was ascribed to Francesco Salviati, in the later inventories to Agostino Carracci or his school. Venturi gave it to Passerotti’s student Lucio Massari, Longhi to Passerotti’s circle and della Pergola to the master himself.  A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 211; R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, Roma 1928, p. 222. Hermann Fiore ascribes it to Federico Zuccari and dates it about 1575-79; K. Hermann-Fiore, Un dipinto inventato da Federico Zuccari: la lezione di Anatomia degli Artisti, in Id., Federico Zuccari, cit., pp. 63-94. Ghirardi attributes it to the school of Passerotti or Federico Zuccari; A. Ghirardi, Bartolomeo Passerotti Pittore (1529-1592), Rimini 1990, pp. 39-46 and Ghirardi, Bartolomeo Passerotti, il culto di Michelangelo, cit., p. 153.

[55]According to Löhneysen this is an ironisation of Plato’s doctrine of ideas: Lessing’s painter Conti believes that the spiritual is more (important) than the work of art, albeit the idea manifests itself only materially cfr. W. von Löhneysen, Raffael unter den Philosophen. Philosophen über Raffael. Denkbild und Sprache der Interpretation, Berlin 1992, pp. 9-17.

[56]T. Gaehtgens, Absurde Bildwelt und Gesellschaftskritik in J.J. Grandvilles Un autre monde, in Von Kunst und Temperament. Festschrift für Eberhard König, edd. C. Zöhl, M. Hofmann, Turnhout 2007, p. 81-96, p. 81. Up to now there has been no monograph devoted to Grandville’s Autre monde. Gaethgen’s study is the first art historical analysis of the work. Un autre monde was published in 1843-44 by H. Fournier, Paris. The full title reads: Un autre monde. Transformations, Visions, Incarnations, Ascensions, Locomotions, Explorations, Pérégrinations, Excursions, Stations – Cosmogonies, Fantasmagories, Rêveries, Folatreries, Facéties, Luries – Métamorphoses, Zoomorphoses, Lithomorphoses, Métempsycoses, Apothéoses et autres Choses par Grandville. For further information on Grandville cfr. J.J. Grandville, Karikatur und Zeichnung. Ein Visionär der französischen Romantik, exh. cat., Karlsruhe-Hannover 2000/2001, Ostfildern-Ruit 2000.

[57]H. Zerner, Raphael, Ingres, et le Romantisme, in Studi su Raffaello, Atti del Congresso Internazionale di Studi, Urbino-Firenze, 6-14 aprile 1984, edd. M. Sambucco Hamoud, M.L. Strocchi, Urbino 1987, pp. 695-701, p. 695. I am grateful to Prof. Zerner in whose class on Ingres at Harvard University I could present the following ideas for the first time and who provided me with precious expertise.

[58]Concerning Ingres’ Raphaelism cfr. M.C. Mazzi, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres. Il culto di Raffaello, in Raffaello e l’Europa, edd. M. Fagiolo, M.L. Madonna, Roma 1990, pp. 715-731; M. Brötje, Ingres in seinem Verhältnis zu Raffael und Michelangelo, in «Giessener Beiträge zur Kunstgeschichte», 3, 1975, p. 237-279. Zerner, Raphael, Ingres, et le Romantisme, cit., pp. 695-701.

[59]The most famous example is the caricature by Benjamin Roubaud, Ingres as Raphael II, from Le Panthéon charivarique, in «Le Charivari», May 27, 1842, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France; cfr. A.C. Shelton, Ingres and His Critics, New York 2005, p. 124, fig. 28.

[60]In his mock-biography Laurent-Jan describes Ingres’ habit of assuming “Raphaelesque poses” when launching his tops and invents an apparition of Raphael who tells the young Ingres: «[…] always extol Phidias, whom you will not understand, then me, whom you will comprehend no better, and above all do not paint a stitch of drapery without consulting me. I will even allow you to borrow a few of my figures in a pinch. Lacking the ability to approach my strengths, exaggerate my weaknesses, which will earn you exactly the same success […]»,transl. Shelton, Ingres and his Critics, cit., p. 142; Jan-Laurent [Alphonse Jean Laurent], M. Ingres painter and martyr (legend), in Le Plutarque drôlatique, vie publique et grotesques des illustres de ce temps-ci, ed. A. Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, Paris 1843; Shelton, Ingres and his Critics, cit., p. 142.

[61]J.J. Grandville, Un autre monde, Paris 1844, p. 87.

[62]For Gaehtgens this blind copying after Raphael is the focus of the caricature; Gaehtgens, Absurde Bildwelt, cit., p. 89.

[63]«Ingres was accused of pride and harshness (...); a crime was made of the number of his students and the influence that he had over them, of the love - indeed, the touching and beautiful passion - that he was able to inspire in all those around him. A crime was made of all this. And would you believe it? It was from the Institut that these attacks primarily emanated»; J. Varnier, Ingres, in «L’Artiste», ser. 2, 8, 20 (21 nov. 1841), p. 305-308, p. 308 (translated by Shelton,Ingres and his Critics, cit., p. 141);cfr.ivi, p. 140f.

[64]Anon., L’Eglise Saint-Vincent-de-Paule [sic] - MM. Hitterf[sic], Maréchal, Ingres, in «Le Charivari», 24 aout1845.  

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