Saturday, October 31, 2009

Raphael ~ Margherita as La Fornarina obsessed by Raphael, Ingres and Picasso

Not only is Margherita Luti thought to be the sitter for Raphael's La Velata (currently on view here at the Portland Art Museum), history has it that she also is the woman in La Fornarina. No longer as demure, Margherita is mostly naked. She has the same pearl bauble on the silk turban on her head as she does in La Velata. But, the other jewelry is quite telling, a tiny ring on the first knuckle of the most important finger of her left hand and a blue armband that proclaims the artist's name Raphael of Urbino in big gold letters. As Amy said yesterday, "ah love". The up and coming Raphael would have hurt his standing with the monied Rome and Florentine aristocracy if he had married this mere daughter of a baker from Siena. However, that didn't keep him from having her around him almost constantly. She is purportedly not only the object of beauty in La Velata and La Fornarina but also the model he used for many of the women in his other paintings. What have others made of this painting and Raphael's relationship with Margherita?Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in 1814 decided to let us all know his opinion of Raphael and La Fornarina. That armband with the gravure of Raphael's name meant to Ingres that our man Raphael and Margherita were an item. In his Raphael and La Fornarina, Margherita sits on Raphael's lap. They had been embracing, but now she stares out at us while he looks back at his composition, paintbrush in hand ready to put on the wet red paint at the end of the bristles. Ingres painting helped keep this romance alive another century until Picasso picked up the meme when he did his 347 series. At the age of 87, Picasso did 347 etchings during a six month period. That's an incredible output for anyone let alone someone nearing ninety years of age. And since Picasso had always been known for his obsession with sex it's not surprising then to learn that each and everyone of these etchings is sexual in nature. And 25 of them are of our man Raphael and La Fornarina. Some include noted members of history such as the Pope and Michelangelo. In the one shown below Michelangelo is peeking out from under the bed. For those who want to see more of Picasso's 347 series, click here.
You have to love those shoes. Sex and shoes, the two s's in life.


Anonymous said... and shoes. I'll take the shoes....they last longer.

Anonymous said...

I´m not strong enough to face that lady’s light,
I don´t find shelter in dark places, the hours of the night
Fate forces me to gaze on her as she appears,
through eyes already injured, half-blind with tears,
knowing too well my true desire, my shame:
to go beyond her light, into her flame...