Monday, November 2, 2009

Raphael ~ La Fornarina, School of Athens

Picasso's image of Raphael and La Fornarina (Margherita Luti being the star of both La Fornarina and this week's La Velata) that I posted on Saturday has lingered in my memory. And it wasn't the shoes although I do have a shoe fetish. It was seeing Michelangelo peeking out from under the bed. What made Picasso put the Great One's image in his etching? We could conjecture on that all day. I do remember from my reading about these two greats, Raphael and Michelangelo, that Michelangelo disliked and distrusted Raphael. He saw a man, eight years younger than he, take on Rome and win over the favor of the Pope. There he, the great Michelangelo, was on his back in the dark and dank Sistine Chapel doing frescos when he'd rather be creating sculpture. Raphael, Mr. Suave and Debonair on the other hand, was over painting the Stanze, warm and able to mingle. And he obviously was using his creations ... Raphael hadn't always painted in this new and wonderful way that so enchanted the Pope – the audacity of this newcomer.

Of course, Michelangelo didn't like or trust many people. High on the list of people he didn't like was not only Raphael but also Leonardo. While Michelangelo was busy dealing with his paranoid thoughts, Raphael continued with his affable lifestyle and even paid Michelangelo homage by painting him into his School of Athens. That fellow on the steps, the one with the beard and holding his head in his hand, was not in the original drawing but was added after Raphael was allowed to see Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel prior to its completion. Whatever else you can say about Raphael, he was definitely a social creature. So social that I'm convinced if there had been a Facebook and computers when he lived, he would have had his iPhone with him at all times and would have been using the Facebook application. At least two other people agree with me.

This first link is to a selection of Raphael's friends on Facebook. It's the least elaborate of the two I'm linking to on this post. I'm thinking this was Raphael's first attempt at Facebook. The second one up is to the Notes section of a Raphael Facebook page where Raphael is very forthcoming. In this case, the creator has put together four translations of a reputable biography of Raphael -- in Arabic, Italian, French and English (English is at the very bottom). Raphael, I'm certain, is looking down with approval. He's probably politicking to have Facebook added to the applications available in Heaven. We'll all have to wait and see.

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