Category: Informative


Raphael was attracted to the idea of expanding the art career in terms of the classical antiquity. By the year 1504, he adopted the use of antique prototypes in his Three Graces plate 30 and his entombment in 1506. However, he only ventured fully into the field of drama. When he was twenty-nine years old, he started animating his figures using the emotion that was mostly associated with the antique art. Since then, the artist paid much attention to reconstructing the lost glory of Rome. This involved sculpture, painting, and architecture, preparing him to become an archaeologist later on. Indeed, he was a unique artist who used his love to penetrate into the past artwork and give it a new appearance. This kind of art was fully embraced in the 18th century and evolved with the emergence of the Greek art. The adoption of the antique art by Raphael later on became universal and was used by the majority of people. In this case, he combined both the Roman and Greek prototypes (Oppe 99).

Raphael’s Life

During his artwork, he used antique architectural motives, where he varied with the Basilica, the Pantheon and Aemilia. According to Rolf, Raphael strictly adhered to the recommendations of antique artists in utilizing the antique technique. Eventually, he became a well-established artist who used different and unique styles that attracted many artists who admired and even copied from his works to come up with their own artwork items. Raphael was born in the late 15th century, whereas according to the article, he began his career at 29 years, and yet the first artwork was completed in 1504 known as the Three Graces (Kinkead 313).He was born in 1483 in the city of Urbino and died in the 16th century. There was a famous memorandum written at the end of his life. This was specifically written to Leo X at the time, when antique Rome was being reconstructed. Here, the late antique parts of the arch of Constantine were distinguished from the Trajan’s ones, which existed earlier.

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The success of Galatea was attributed to Agostino Chigi, who granted Raphael an opportunity to come up with the monumental fresco under a classical subject. This was completed in the year 1510. When Raphael was given a chance to paint the beautiful cortege of the lovely nymph, he did it with some distinction that left many people admiring the painting. He did it independently and in a meticulous manner, where nothing could be associated with that one of Sebastian fresco. This uniqueness of style between the two common artists was the main reason for their rivalry, when they had to work on the Raising of Lazarus and Transfiguration of Jesus artwork. Most of Sebastiano’s frescoes did not go on well with the majority of people as compared to the one of Raphael. In the long-run, Galatea was established in the year 1512 and had some fresh ideas in terms of the composition, including the muscular articulation and slender forms (Muntz 394).

Raphael’s prior knowledge of sea creatures with antique sarcophagi gave him ideas when it came to decorating silver plates. These skills were later on used in painting Galatea, which is portrayed as spiraling with the delicate beauty of her body illustrated by the deep red cloak around her. The painting of Galatea is attributed to Raphael, because it has some features that were in his initial work of the Three Graces, which was done by him (Oppe 100). Through a letter, Raphael was able to describe the painting as an ideal one, which demonstrated the obvious beauty of human beings. Surprisingly, Galatea has both characteristics of Botticelli’s Venus and Raphael’s antiques. In this case, one can easily notice Raphael’s qualities are realized and appreciated in the picture, whereas those of Botticelli can be seen in the photograph.

The Botticelli style has some space with one plane, as well as the intersecting forms with the other one having a play of line. Analyzing Raphael’s work, one realizes that the feeling remains in the movement and advancement of figures, even though the color and tone of the sea cannot be clearly seen. The use of the free oil technique by Raphael illustrates his understanding of the classical subjects. This ranges from the conch blowing triton on the left with the head of the white horse, dragging putto at the foot, to the four cupids with bows and arrows, as well as a fluid modulation of the entire painting. The Galatea painting is capable to demonstrate the uniqueness of the human figure in the simplest form and in a sophisticated manner with the modernity and dignity (Oberhuber 208).

Being a classical imagination of the artist’s work, Galatea is a representation of the middle age work of the artist. However, a specific period in his career cannot be associated with the artwork, whereas the closest it comes is the period of the Christian and the Pagan ideals. During this period, different artists had diverse ideas in demonstrating their paintings based on the technique, figure and other accompaniments. There were no clear boundaries between Paganism and Christianity during this particular period, and hence, the humanity and artwork were closely intertwined. For instance, Raphael was able to give his Galatea a sculpturesque physique and ease of motion. On the other hand, Botticelli was able to portray Venus with a wistful look, extreme beauty and elegance. Raphael did a similar art in 1512 for Julius II. Even though it exists only in several copies, presently, it was initially placed in the Santa Maria Del Popolo church with the same elegance of the pattern and ease of movement (Oberhuber 205).

Raphael does not persist on the beauty and expression of the face to bring out clear emotions of the entire painting. Instead, the pure oval face is used to portray the Garvagh Madonna with large eyes that are down cast. The delicate, small and well-modeled nose together with soft and rounded mouth is used to emphasize the position of the cheek (Sommer 324).

Raphael’s Technique and Style

Most of Raphael’s artworks were influenced by Chigi, when he came to Rome due to the close link they had. The first designs were for the two dishes with the most significant one being Galatea, which was done in fresco in the banker’s new villa of a saloon. Even though there is no exact date when Galatea was created, an approximate date is suggested to have been in mid 1514. This is according to the letter, which the artist referred to Baldassare before he was nominated to be the chief architect in charge of St. Peter’s (Cruttwell 88).

Comparison between Luca Signorelli’s and Raphael’s Artwork

Luca Signorelli is an artist, whose life was so controversial, but with some quality artwork that can be patched together to support his eventful life. According to Vasari, Luca was born in a place known as Cortona of Egidio Signorelli. Since Vasari was a close confidant, he was able to establish that Luca was introduced to painting by Lazzaro, who was his great grandfather (Muntz 395). Luca was born in the year 1441 and began his apprenticeship at eleven years under the guidance of Pier dei Franceschi. It is at this point that Signorelli was eager to learn, and in most cases, emulated the style of his master. The most adorable style was the frescoes, which were commonly used in the painting of flagellation. This figure comprised of several technical expertise, where Signorelli enhanced his technical skills to ensure that the painting was so impressive.

Indeed, Signorelli was impressed with the work of Donatello to a considerable degree and copied his style of sculpting. Most of his artworks focused on the science of human movement, where the nudeness was understood and perceived in a modern way. This endeared the artists to go further and master the anatomy of human bodies to come up with a clear painting. It is said that he went an extra mile by removing skin from the corpses to study and understand the structure of the skin and bones. At some point, he visited Florence and gave out gifts of his paintings as a fully fledged painter.

Iconography of Galatea

There is a classical myth trying to explain the juxtaposition of Raphael’s Galatea and Del Piombo’s Polyphemus, where the latter woes the first one. It is evident that most painters get their ideas from poets and later on transform them into real images. Poets are also allowed to get ideas from the images of painters, hence, having a mutual relationship. For instance, when comparing Raphael’s painting and Poliziano’s poetry, one realizes that there is a similarity in the two types of work. Poliziano poetry tries to explain the imagery portrayed by Raphael’s artwork, but not in details. There is a putto skim across the ocean’s surface in the immediate foreground of the scene, which is not explained in the poem. Consequently, the main function of the putto is overlooked, thus, distorting its role of directing the attention of the dolphin clinging and killing the octopus (Kinkead 314). Dolphins are not natural enemies of octopus or sources of food as propagated by Raphael in his artwork. This is illustrated in the fresco with the help of the two outstretched arms of the dolphin.

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However, the octopus and dolphin feature is accepted to be symbolic in the painting created by Raphael. It is a display of the disparities between the dolphin and the octopus in the marine fauna. The poetic writer uses the dolphin symbolically, when he refers to it as the lord of the sea. Observing the painting at a close range, one will identify interweaving of figures. Based on this, the poet was in a position to illustrate the murderous hands of the octopus that were used to seize the neck of the enemy and strangle it. The poet goes further and tries to distinguish between the two animals using the aspect of love (Sommer 326). He says that the dolphin mates in a similar manner as men, reciprocates the love for their children. On the contrary, the octopus has a different attitude as opposed to the dolphin, and yet they are both sea creatures.

Raphael uses the symbolic killing of octopus by the dolphin in Galatea to amplify the theme of fresco. This simply signifies the rejection of the bestial behavior within the society, in this case Polyphemus. Subsequently, the myth is then substituted with a love that overcomes the lust. Through Galatea, Raphael did not have an obligation to explain in detail what he meant. In another painting, Tintoretto uses the Vulcan to check on the coverlets of Venus, whereas the lover is hidden beneath the bed. This creates the Feydeau farce as demonstrated by Tintoretto in Pinakothek Munich painting (Cruttwell 205).

Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite by Poussin

Poussin was a renowned artist in the United States of America. One of his recognized paintings was the Neptune and Amphitrite, which was based in a museum in Philadelphia. In the painting, the artist tries to portray and illustrate the birth of Venus, signifying the creativity in nature. In the painting, there is a cupid-like boy, horn blowing tritons and a dolphin. There is also the Nereid, holding the blowing pink scarf across the head of the Amphitrite and others at the upper left hand in a chariot. The artist uses the mountainous shore in the background of the painting (Oppe 100).

A nude woman is illustrated in the painting sitting near the vase in the foreground to depict how an artist uses beauty and attraction to get the attention of viewers. As a result, one can easily identify the loving couple in Poussin’s artwork. In comparison, with Cartari’s images, there is a clear distinction as the iconography of the gods was used. In the case of Poussin, each painting has got a chariot, implying the traditional way of transport (Cruttwell 89).


Indeed, most of the paintings by great artists have left an indelible mark in the field of art and literature. This has been through their outstanding illustration of the nature and beauty of the surrounding, whereas they co-exist in the world. A painting like Galatea had so many features put together to portray the beauty, of which the nature is made up, and where poets draw up their ideas.

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