Archive for the Raphael Category

Cy Twombly,Recquiscat in Pace

Posted in Cy Twombly, Nicholas Poussin, Raphael on July 7, 2011 by babylonbaroque

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Cy Twombly, as my readers may know, my interests generally do not include much of the 20th century (excluding the first decade perhaps); Twombly was the exception.

Cy Twombly, 1966, Voque

My appreciation of Twombly’s work began  with the 10-painting cycle Fifty Days at Illiam at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I  had been ignorant of Cy Twombly, but the work instantly struck a nerve. Cool, chaste, decidedly classical, the desperate doodlings seemed to suggest long forgotten frantic pleas from the ancient past. I was only to learn later that Twombly was referencing Alexander Pope and his translation of The Illiad.

 I was hooked.

Only a few days ago the New York Times had ran an article concerning an exhibition in which Twombly’s classical paintings would be paired with the equally restrained paintings of Nicholas Poussin.

Cy Twombly was a great admirer of Poussin, having stated that “I would have liked to have been Poussin, if I’d had a choice , in another time”.

As a fellow Poussiniste, I was delighted.

Cy Twombly

Apollo and the Artist


oil paint, wax crayon, pencil and collage on paper


Nicolas Poussin

Et in Arcadia Ego 



It is  difficult not to fall for the lush beauty of the School of Athens.

Why resist?

source, NYT

It may be heretical, but I may  prefer Twombly’s to Rapheal, difficult to admit …


The School of Athens



Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican Palace

well, perhaps not more.

Thank you Mr. Twombly for such lyrical work.

Cy Twombly

b. 25th April 1925

d. 5th July 2011


Until next time,

respectfully submitted,

Babylon Baroque

Behold The Man; depictions of the Passion

Posted in Good Friday, Guido Reni, Il Sodoma, Pietro Perugino, Raphael, Vasari on April 21, 2011 by babylonbaroque

As my schedule did not allow my attending this evening’s  Mass of the Lord’s Supper, I am like any modern penitent, blogging as sacrifice.

I hope it counts.

For those uncomfortable with image of faith, particularly Christian, please bear with me, or wait until after Holy Week.

For those uncomfortable with discussion of faith I will attempt to keep the rhetoric to a minimum; the images are far more eloquent then anything I will ever say.

Man of Sorrows

illumination, unidentified

Christ at the Whipping Post


Francesco Vanni


Ecce Homo translates as “behold the man”, Pilate’s words to the gathered crowd.

See what we have wrought.

Ecce Homo


Guido Reni

The Man of Sorrows


Michele Giambono

Metropolitan Museum of Art

I have seen the word Misericoidia  bounced about, I did not know that it translated to mean The Man of Sorrows. This image by Giambono is indeed heart wrenching.

Difficult to not think of the Miserere.

Ecce Homo


J Petel

painted wood

Deposition from the Cross


Il Sodoma

Raphael’s mentor, Pietro Perugino  tried his hand at the Crucifixion, it is easy to see how the boy from Urbino was both  impressed and inspired.


Pietro Perugino

Giorgio Vasari tells us that Raphael was born on good Friday, 1483, he also died on Good Friday 37 years later. Vasari rather priggishly implies he whored himself to death.

No matter, his own Crucifixion is as lovely as you would imagine, the man was indeed touched by God.




National Gallery, London

Vasari also tells us that the great Raphael was born to the artist Giovanni de’ Santi, ” a painter of no great talent”. That is a bit harsh, he possesses talent, but his son is a difficult act to follow.

The following is by Papa, perhaps a bit old fashioned to Raphael’s eyes, but worthy of our attention nonetheless.

Christ Supported by Two Angels


Giovanni Santi

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

The fly on his chest is a particularly good touch.

Raphael will go on to create a more luminous interpretation upon the theme.

The Blessing Christ



Through history Jews have born the ugly brunt, the Passion incited foul reactions; i remember as a child hearing anti-Semitic accusations, in the 70’s!

I’m sorry about that, deeply sorry.

That said the Passion is dear to me, in many ways more so then Easter itself. 

Ecce Homo


Antonio Ciseri

I have readied the house for the Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, the images are draped, as our the mirrors.


I will attend Mass tomorrow.

I will work on a drawing based upon the Vanni.

I will stay away from this damned keyboard.

Until then ,

Babylon Baroque

Grotsquerie @ the Hermitage

Posted in Grotesquerie, Raphael on February 25, 2010 by babylonbaroque

When Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, 1483-1520, (aka Raphael) designed the wildly inventive ornament for the Vatican in the new Grotto style, could he have predicted how popular they would be?  Not only were they well received by his contemporaries, they have provided influence to this day. I constantly draw upon the designs as a resource for my own work.

When my  friend Eleanor Schapa, the beloved maven (UCLA/Santa Monica College) of all that is European and decorative recently visited the Hermitage she stumbled upon fantastic copies of Raphaels designs.. Apparently the art was not engaging enough, as dear Eleanor found herself snapping away at the wall decoration. Evidently a rather imposing lady guard made her stop, but what we have following is a result of Eleanor and her determined furtive snapping.

Thanks E!

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino


This amazing young man, dead at 37, produced such ravishing ornament. We all know his “true art”, but this ornament expresses such wit and cleverness.

I particularly love the bits of nature he adds to the composition. There is the usual prettiness, little birds and butterflies, but I am tickled beyond measure by the addition of rats, RATS, rodents in the Vatican!

This particular fellow is just so chubby and delightful.

I love the delicacy of the painting, the flashes of crimson against the blue-ish green of the acanthus rosette, so striking.

Little pointy eared squirrels are a great favorite.

This is just such a great combination, the elegant pheasant, graceful arcs of grass and sumac, red headed woodpeckers, and all balanced on the prickly back of a porcupine. a wonderful porcupine.

I was first introduced to Raphael’s designs, as so many American artists are,  through the great 19th cent. pattern books of Owen Jones The Grammar of Ornament,and  Auguste Racinet’s Racinet’s Historic Ornament, series 1. The plates that I encountered in those volumes, whetted an appetite for writhing, convoluted, mad decoration. The 19th century produced even more insane versions, adding Baroque elements. But the almost straight forward designs Rapheal produced most often, rely  upon a balanced design.

I adore the satyrs flanking this composition.

Swagging, winged putti, masques, …… can’t go wrong.

I’ve always wanted to paint such a truly grotesque monster-girl as this, I have usually met resistance from clients, but someday.

I am really wild about the boars, so vital and primitive, like a Pompeian mosaic.

I love the green and red garland frames, the color combo has long been a favorite.

There is something strikingly moderne’ about the tigers, they remind me of Art Deco mural decorations, the kind you would find in coffee shops and ocean liners. Populist Deco

There was, perhaps is, a wonderful coffee shop in my hometown of Trenton. The walls were decorated with wonderful tigers and gazelles in rich reds and olives. The coffee was horrifying, but I spent every moment I could there, just absorbing the wall decoration.

I love the blue berries against the rich red.

I must thank dear Catherine the Great, and Eleanor the Grand, for we would not have these wonderful images.