Here we have a drawing copied once again by the great Italian master Raphael Sanzio. Located in the collection of the British museum, it was done in black pen and brown ink. My copy was done in graphite pencil. The drawing is a study of drapery and three hands. Like the last post, it is also a study for the fresco ‘Disputation of the Holy Sacrament’. And once again I have turned to ChatGPT to do the heavy lifting on this post. So like anyone in my position, I asked ChatGPT to write about the artist Raphael in the style of Dr. Seuss. And in a scolding tone, replied: I’m sorry, but there is no known connection between the artist Raphael and the style of Dr. Seuss. Raphael was a High Renaissance painter and architect from Italy who worked primarily in the 15th and 16th centuries, while Dr. Seuss was an American author and illustrator who worked primarily in the mid-20th century and is best known for his whimsical and playful style of drawing and storytelling. While there may be some similarities in their use of color and composition, it is unlikely that Raphael had any direct influence on the style of Dr. Seuss. So I researched Dr. Seuss because I get sidetracked easily and found out he wrote in a style called: anapestic tetrameter. So I asked ChatGPT: Write about the artist Raphael in anapestic tetrameter. And ChatGPT happily replied:
In Urbino, Italy, Raphael was born, A painter of the High Renaissance morn, With skills in architecture, art he adorned, And left his mark before he was gone.
His works are known for their grace and beauty, With figures that exude a sense of duty, And colors that shimmer, lively and fruity, A feast for the eyes, a painterly booty.
From the Vatican to the Medici’s halls, His art adorned both great and small, A master of his craft, he stood tall, A legacy that still enthralls us all.
Next up on our old master artist copy-a-thon, we have a drawing in ink copied from a work by Raphael. My copy was done with the ever-popular gel ink pen available at the finest art supply stores. Stores like Target and Walgreens for example. The original by Raphael was done with brown ink over a non-gel black ink pen. It is a study for the his fresco entitled ‘Disputation of the Holy Sacrament’ located in the Apostolic Palace inside the Vatican. At the tender age of twenty-five, Raphael obtained an important commission from Pope Julius II to decorate a ceremonial hall in the Vatican. Saints, priests, scholars, and poets are portrayed in the fresco. This drawing shows a detail of the overall composition. To portray the figures as lively and realistically as possible, Raphael created nude studies of each after a live model. The individual studies are brought together in this drawing to determine the spatial relationship between the figures. Now I’m not a writer so I am already getting very tired of writing. So I turned to technology to help me write about Raphael.
I used the artificial intelligence wunderkind known as ChatGPT to write about Raphael’s personality. According to ChatGPT, Raphael was gentle and affable. He had a great sense of humor and a warm, welcoming demeanor. He was easy to get along with. He was devoted to his faith. Raphael was highly skilled in networking and socializing. He was well-liked by both royalty and popes. On top of that he had wit, charm and of course, was incredibly artistically talented.
I used to admire Raphael, but due to ChatGPT, I find him very annoying. And that my friends is progress. What about the subject of ‘Disputa’? Well, what about it ChatGPT? I tried to ask ChatGPT and it told me and I quote “! Something went wrong. If this issue persists please contact us through our help center at help.openai.com.” So there you go, that is all I have for today.
Click here if you want to see an image of the study of the Disputa by Raphael.
The image accompanying this post is a copy in graphite pencil of a drawing by Jacopo Pontormo. The original drawing is described as “A Young Man Holding a Small Child”. On the other side of the paper, there is another drawing of “A Young Man Holding a Small Child”. The sheet of paper that has those two drawings is in the Scottish National Gallery of Art. Pontormo was an Italian artist that worked in the Mannerist style which strayed from the realism Renaissance art. He elongated his figures to create more expressive compositions.
According to Giorgio Vasari’s Life of the Artists, Pontormo was a very withdrawn and neurotic individual. This idea of Pontormo has managed to exaggerate the popular conception of the artist, as seen in the film, Pontormo, a Heretical Love by Giovanni Fago. It is Fago’s portrayal of Pontormo that he is engrossed in a lonely, paranoid, and often protected process of his final Last Judgment project. When Vasari was writing his Lives of the Artists, he was in intense competition with the Pontormo/Bronzino workshop, according to art historian Elizabeth Pilliod. The professional feud between the two studio owners might have provided Vasari with enough motive to run down his opponent’s artistic lineage in his quest for patronage by the Medici family.
Except for Bronzino, few were able or willing to emulate Pontormo’s artistic peculiarities. In some of Bronzino’s early paintings, the authorship is still debated whether it belongs to him or to his instructor. In some ways, Pontormo shares the Mannerism of Rosso Fiorentino and Parmigianino. It could be said that he anticipated the Baroque as well as the style of El Greco. It was also a result of his idiosyncrasies that he had an original and cohesive sense of composition. Unfortunately, Pontormo’s work was quite out of fashion for several centuries. The fact that so much of his work has been lost or harshly damaged is a testament to this neglect. Fortunately, he has received renewed attention from contemporary art historians.
This post contains a drawing in Prismacolor® pencils that was copied from a work in chalk by the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. That is some name, isn’t it? I counted twelve syllables. There seem to be a lot of Italian names that are of similar complexity. I feel bad for all the Italian school teachers that had to do a roll call every day. I hope they got paid overtime. I just realized how corny my sense of humor is. I have been in denial for so long. Anyway, I know a lot of you are not familiar with the name Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. I am not either but I will do some research on behalf of both of us.
I have been in denial for so long.
The following information has been taken from the Virtual Uffizi website which refers to itself as the unofficial website of the Uffizi museum in Florence, Italy. Giovanni Battista Piazzetta’s drawings and paintings were noted for their Rocco style, with subtle coloring and rounded forms of religious and genre subjects. His father was a sculptor, and Piazzetta studied woodcarving with him before studying painting with the Venetian Baroque painter, Antonio Molinari. Molinari along with the Bolognese painter, Giuseppe Crespi, and the Emilian artist, Guercino all had a big impact on Piazzetta’s work. Even though Piazzetta did not receive many commissions throughout his career, he also illustrated books with drawings to pay the bills. His illustrated work is reminiscent of Rembrandt’s paintings. In all his works, Piazzetta created complex scenes where the subject was never obvious, and his characters were immersed in more than it seemed. The subjects he created would take on several different meanings. Piazzetta also added melodramatic features and had a reputation for being a darker artist than his Venetian contemporaries. Much of his later years were spent teaching, and although not wealthy, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta was a well-respected artist.
Our next drawing was copied from the Italian artist Federico Barocci. The original was done with chalk and is described as “Studies for the Martyrdom of San Vitale” and can be found at the Staatliche Museen, Berlin. My copy was done in pencil and can be found in my hall closet. I couldn’t find a copy of the drawing on the Staatliche Museen website but a similar one can be found by clicking here. Federico Barocci’s painting of the “Martyrdom of San Vitale” can be found in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. Since I haven’t talked about Federico Barocci in previous posts, let’s learn a little about this guy. I found the following information on the www.oxfordbibliographies.com website. Is it a reliable website? Well, it has the word ‘oxford’ in it so I guess so. Not only that but it also has the word ‘bibliographies’ in it which contains many syllables. You put them together and you can’t go wrong.
Since I haven’t talked about Federico Barocci…
Federico Barocci was the most well-known and well-paid Italian artist during the later 16th and early 17th centuries. He came from a successful artisan family in Urbino. He later traveled to Rome through his elder countryman Taddeo Zuccaro and received a papal commission. In the meantime, he received local commissions, resulting in his breakthrough Deposition in Perugia Cathedral in 1569. In addition to the altarpieces he provided in Arezzo and Ravenna, Barocci also received important Roman commissions that cemented his reputation. Although distorted human figures of the Mannerist style were still popular at that time, Barocci created his figures from direct observation. He used many drawings and studies to create carefully constructed paintings. Perhaps due to the sentimentality of his paintings, Barocci’s reputation declined in the 18th century. As a result, there is not much written about Federico Barocci, despite the fact that research has grown substantially in recent years and today Federico Barocci is considered one of the most brilliant draftsmen of his time.
Next up we have a copy of a drawing of Cain and Abel by Luca Cambiaso. The original was done in pen and wash. I made my copy with India Ink on watercolor paper. Right now you are probably wondering just who is this Luca Cambiaso person. Let us consult the Italian Art Society which sounds like an organization that should know what they are talking about.
Luca Cambiaso was born in Genoa, Italy on November 18, 1527. He was a top artist in Genoa during the middle and late 16th century and ran a big and productive workshop. In his childhood, he learned to paint with his father, Giovanni Cambiaso. Luca created his first works when he was only fifteen years old. At the age of seventeen, he began working with his father on the Palazzo Doria’s decoration. Additionally, Luca assisted Il Bergamasco with decorations for the church of San Matteo. Luca partnered with Giovanni Battista Castello on several projects in the 1550s. During 1560, Cambiaso completed frescoes for the Palazzo Imperiale in Campetto, Genoa, which brought him notoriety and additional commissions. FYI: Palazzo Imperiale means Imperial Palazzo in Italian. Cambiaso was asked to work for Philip II of Spain in 1583 and you don’t say no to Philip II. San Lorenzo’s church at the Hieronymite monastery of the Escorial was his first commission.
You don’t say no to Philip II
He studied Raphael and Michelangelo’s methods, and he was open to learning new ones. Luca was also impacted by the works of Titian and Veronese. In the mid-1560s, he developed a draughtsman style that incorporates geometric forms. By the 1570s, Luca’s works began to be more reflective, which he continued to develop during the rest of his career. He influenced a lot of painters, who analyzed his frescoes in Genoa. His followers became known as the Genoese School. Luca died in Madrid on September 8, 1585.
The drawing above was done with black and white Prismacolor® pencils on gray-toned paper. The subject is a Satyr, which is a Greek mythological demigod that is half man and half goat. It was copied from a drawing by Jean-Baptiste Deshays. That work was originally attributed to the more famous French artist, François Boucher. I will write about Boucher later in another blog post unless I find out that the other drawings supposedly done by him were in fact drawn by other artists. Now let’s talk about Jean-Baptiste Deshays or if you want to be even more formal, Jean-Baptiste-Henri Deshays. There is not a whole lot written about Deshays. Even the people that write for Wikipedia did not have much to say about Deshay and they seem incredibly interested in everything. The information they had was taken from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. They also had one external link to the Web Gallery of Art. But unfortunately, that link went to the biography of François-Guillaume Menageot. So let us learn what we can about this talented and relatively unknown French painter.
They seem incredibly interested in everything.
Born on November 27, 1729 in Colleville, France, Jean-Baptiste Deshays first learned how to paint from his father. At the age of 20, he moved into the studio of Jean Restout II, who, like Collin de Vermont, was a student of Jean Jouvenet and followed in the grand tradition of French history painting. During his studies with Restout, Deshays learned the importance of dramatic compositions and intense colors in big religious paintings. While he was in Restout’s studio, Deshays entered the prestigious Prix de Rome competition, winning second prize in 1750 and then the first prize in 1751. Deshays was required to spend three years at the Ecole des Eleves Protégés before proceeding to Rome. The school director, Carle Van Loo helped him develop a more stylish, looser style and tone down the intense training he received from Jouvenet. During this time, he painted a number of religious paintings, which are now lost, including two large canvases, an Annunciation and a Visitation, for the Rouen monastery of the Visitation. In Rome, under the supervision of Charles-Joseph Natoire, he spent four years completing his artistic instruction. Raphael, Domenichino, Guercino, and Carracci were among the Italian masters he copied during this period. His return to Paris in 1758 was followed by his marriage to François Boucher’s eldest daughter and his membership into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Despite only exhibiting at four official Salons, the artist was highly praised for his work.
Raphael was regarded as one of the finest draftsmen in Western art history. Before he began a composition, he would lay out several of his stock drawings on the floor and start drawing quickly, borrowing figures from here, there, and everywhere. According to the number of variations that survive, Raphael combined different drawings into his poses and compositions. Raphael would come up with four or six strategies to show a narrative, each one different from the next, and all of them were full of elegance and originality. The art of Raphael represents a shift in resources from production to research and development. A full-size preliminary drawing or ‘cartoon’ was made and then pricked with a pin and “pounced” with soot to leave dotted lines on the surface as a guide for completing the painted composition. He also used a metal stylus to scratch lines on paper and plaster, leaving only an indentation, but no marks. They can be seen on the walls of his frescoes and in the originals of many drawings. In his final years, Raphael was one of the first artists to use female models for preparatory drawings. Up to this time, only male models were used to draw and paint both male and female figures.
The above is another copy of a Tintoretto drawing located in the Museum of Budapest and is titled “Two Studies after the so-called “Atlas” Statuette.” In the description section under the drawing, it states “This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.” So what does that mean? As I’ve mentioned in a couple of other blog posts, sometimes a work of art is found to be by another lesser-known artist. It can create quite a brouhaha. So the original drawing might have been done by one of Tintoretto’s students or assistants. Or perhaps a follower of Tintoretto or maybe even ‘gasp’ a forger with a desceptive motive. Wow, things are really heating up, aren’t they? Who knows maybe by the time you read this we might find out what the museum staff discovered. Until then we will talk about the subject of the drawing.
The following information about the myth of Atlas was borrowed or taken from classicalwisdom.com
The story of Atlas may have been founded on a Pelasgian myth, a tale associated with the original residents of Greece. Atlas was extremely powerful and had a brother named Prometheus. I wrote about Prometheus in a previous post, I hope you were paying attention. Atlas was one of Zeus’ greatest rivals and Zeus was kind of a big deal. Zeus along with the rest of the Olympians greatly feared Titan and his fellow Titans. In the end, the Olympians prevailed and conquered the Titans. The other Titans were incarcerated by Zeus in Tartarus, which is the name for hell. Since the Olympians feared and hated Atlas, they devised a special punishment for him. Atlas was sentenced to stand at the western end of the earth. He was then forced to carry the sky on his shoulders forever. According to my research, forever is a very long time. Atlas suffered a great deal because he had to bear such a hefty load. Over the centuries, a misconception emerged that he was destined to hold up the entire world. This is probably a result of artworks created during the Renaissance that misinterpreted the original myths. The Greeks believed Atlas held up the sky over what is now the country of Morocco.