Raphael and Perugino. A Showdown of Masterpieces

Raphael and Perugino. A Showdown of Masterpieces
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Raphael was only 21 when he painted his first masterpiece. The Sposalizio della Vergine came to light in Città di Castello, just before Raffaello took off on a triumphal tour of all the cultural hotspots of central Italy. Later on, with little adieu, an officer of Napoleon would remove the altarpiece from the church for which it was painted, selling it for quite a price in Milan where, today, it is one of the jewels of the Collection of the Pinacoteca of Brera. Elegant, harmonious and mathematically perfect, the altarpiece of the Sposalizio shows all the distinctive trademarks of the Renaissance that Raphael ruled. But at the time, it was a sensation for another reason - the young artist was obscuring his Master Pietro Perugino’s fame, whose brush was lauded with successes from Umbria to Florence to Rome. The first to point this out was the great Giorgio Vasari who compared the respective versions of the Sposalizio della Vergine painted by the two artists. In the work of Raphael, he notices a new, warm naturalness, capable of intertwining both figure and background, invention and tradition, a marvel of perspective and the mysteries of life itself. Beside the admirable holy scene in the foreground, the artist renders a sacred idea of the universe and creation itself, “not as nature has made but as it should have made it.”
Francesca Grego - © 2020 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Milano
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