Europe 1300 - 1800
- Raphael, an introduction
- Raphael and his drawings
- Raphael, Marriage of the Virgin, 1504
- Raphael, Madonna of the Goldfinch
- Raphael, La belle jardinière
- Raphael, School of Athens
- Raphael, School of Athens
- Raphael, Alba Madonna
- Raphael, Portrait of Pope Julius II
- Raphael, Galatea
- Raphael, Pope Leo X
Raphael, Marriage of the Virgin, 1504
Raphael's Marriage of the Virgin, 1504, oil on panel, 174 cm × 121 cm / 69 in × 48 in (Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan) Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris & Dr. Steven Zucker. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
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- It looks like Rafael dated this painting as MDIIII for 1504. When did the Roman Numeral style switch to IV for 4 as we know it now?(12 votes)
- IV and IIII have been used interchangeably throughout history, although IV seems to be more common now, in our time. That said, most clocks that use Roman numerals still use IIII. Check out the "Alternative forms" section of the Roman numerals Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals(6 votes)
- Is Joseph's flowering rod based on Aaron, the High Priest's, rod that flowers in Number 17:8?(7 votes)
- possibly. Koholeth (the preacher, who wrote Ecclesiastes) declared that there is nothing new under the sun. A story as good as that of Aaron's rod is great raw material for re-cycling and re-use later.(4 votes)
- Is the Raphael of this painting the Raphael that the "Pre-Raphaelites" were reacting against? If so, is there anything in this specific painting that exemplifies what the Pre-Raphaelites rejected to or reacted against?(4 votes)
- Yes. It is the same Raphael. The two styles seem similar, but what the pre-raphaelites were rebelling against was conventional painting. At2:15for example, you can see how two different scenes are essentially rendered in the exact same way, how there is no attempt at depicting a believable crowd, space, clothing, stick, etc. That is an example of how two very different stories became the same after they were subjecting to the distorting influence of conventional painting.
Also, the fact that the "pre raphaelite" style they were trying to achieve hadn't really existed before Raphael is not important here. The Romantics in particular were great at inventing mythical roots for their ideas and stories.(6 votes)
- At1:30Dr Beth Harris says that the guy in the front is annoyed and is therefore breaking the rod.
There is also another interpretation, I think - that is, the rod is broken to make the marriage final, irreversible. In the Jewish tradition, in weddings, glasses are broken the same way. And they (Mary & Joseph) were Jews - Christ was not born yet...(6 votes)
- When did marriage tradition shift from placing the wedding band on the RIGHT hand, as Joesph does here, to placing it on the LEFT hand, as is the current tradition?(4 votes)
- It varies among cultures and countries. Some place it on the right during wedding ceremonies, some on the left (many Western cultures), some on the left before the ceremony then switching to the right afterwords (Greek Orthodox) and finally some allow wearing on any finger or thumb of either hand. (Wikipedia ref http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_finger)
Also according to Wikipedia, traditional Jewish weddings have the groom placing the ring upon the bride's right index finger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_wedding) . As this painting represented the marriage of Mary and Joseph, we may assume he was representing it as such.(4 votes)
- Raphael is even more indebted to Perugino than this video shows, since this painting is a reworked version of Perigino's "Marriage of the Virgin". The same composition, temple in the background, and a man breaking the rod. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Pietro_Perugino_016.jpg
Even more interestingly Perugino's picture itself borrows its composition from a fresco by unknown artist in the church of St. Girolamo a Spello. Present scholarship thinks that the artist was Rocco Zoppo and the fresco was drawn around 1492. It is essentially the same composition, the temple in the background, the man breaking the rod is also present. The main difference with Perugino's and Raphael's paintings is absence of perspective.
Here is the link to the info about recent restoration of this fresco:
- Wow, that's some really interesting information! Thanks for sharing.(1 vote)
- Joseph appears to have this strange sadness about him, does any one have any ideas?(1 vote)
- I certainly see what you mean, but let me offer another perspective. Since Greek and Roman art, which is especially what the renaissance builds on, there has been an interest in showing figures rather emotionless. Even the suitor who is breaking his rod has an air of serenity about him. This is in part to flex the returning ideals of antiquity, but we also can claim that the source is the more recent Christian art, which for a millennium has removed figural emotion to avoid portraying reality or being "deceptive" way; it had lacklusterly become simple convention.
But the gloom you've spotted in Joseph seems more enhanced than the figures around him, this I would attribute to the depiction of his age. Joseph was considerably older than Mary (by about 30 years) when they entered into their union and in committing this to paint, Raphael's expression of tranquility - unfamiliar to modern observers - and Joseph's age seem like melancholia.
It would be ignorant for me not to note that, it is believed that Mary had already been betrothed to Joseph when she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit and the annunciation took place. This is evident in some passages in the bible: "18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." Matthew 1: 18-19
It would be reasonable to attribute any further speculation of sadness to the fact that Joseph might have felt shame for this, but he is subsequently told by the holy spirit that he should not be afraid, go ahead with the marriage, and so it on. But, we aren't certain if the depicted is a final commission of their marriage, or the commencement of their engagement/betrothal. The Golden Legend reads much like a collection of religious folk tales so the stories don't tend to come out straight.(5 votes)
- At0:50, Dr. Zucker says, "There were a number of people who wanted to marry Mary." Was Joseph or any of her other suitors aware that, not only was she a virgin, but that she would forever remain so? I've always felt rather sad for Joseph that he would never get to consummate the marriage. He was not necessarily too old.
Even as her legal spouse, Joseph always seemed to be a background figure and was mostly ignored. He was the legal step-father of Jesus, and it seems he should have been a larger part of Jesus's life and more of a biblical presence. What happened to him in later life? Do we know when he died?(2 votes)
- Here's the page in wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Joseph(1 vote)
- Why do we have Rumania numerals?
Who started it?(1 vote)
- Romans started the roman ones, but even ancient greeks used letters of their alphabet as numbers, and, if I remember correctly, that was a system that was used in Hebrew as well. Thank God for the Arabs, who brought us the numerals we use today.(1 vote)
- When was this painting made?(1 vote)
- The Marriage of the Virgin was completed in 1504.(1 vote)
DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: We're in the Brera in Milan, and we're looking at an important early Raphael. DR. BETH HARRIS: Raphael's in his early 20s when he paints this, and the subject is The Marriage of the Virgin. And it's taken from a book called The Golden Legend. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: Now, this is a medieval book that basically tries to fill in all the missing stories in the Bible. I mean, if you think about this deeply religious Christian culture, they look to the Bible to understand the sacred story. But there are so many omissions. There are so many things that are missing that people created the glue to tie the stories together. DR. BETH HARRIS: And that's what's collected in the book we know today as The Golden Legend. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: So this story is about the marriage of the Virgin Mary to Saint Joseph. And the story says that there were a number of people that wanted to marry Mary. DR. BETH HARRIS: She had many suitors. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: And each of these suitors had a rod, and that she would be married to the one whose rod flowered. DR. BETH HARRIS: Miraculously flowered. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: Needless to say. DR. BETH HARRIS: And so they went to the temple, and the man whose rod flowered was Joseph. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: And we can see that in this painting. Joseph, who's got that wonderful yellow drape over his shoulder and around his waist, is putting a ring tenderly on the Virgin Mary's finger. And he holds in his left hand a rod that indeed has leaves at its end. DR. BETH HARRIS: And there are other suitors behind him you can see have rods without flowers on the end. And one suitor in the front is annoyed, has decided to break the rod on his knee. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: This wonderful human narrative quality here, this is not just the sacred event. But it really is enacting it before us as a kind of performance. DR. BETH HARRIS: And so right in the center, we have a priest marrying Mary and Joseph. And the painting is so symmetrical in so many ways with that temple behind. And we have this rationally constructed perspective space. And that priest is in the middle between Mary and Joseph, but he tips his head a little bit, so he's just off center. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: In fact, there's a little bit of the chaos of the crowd that people are moving this way and that, that people are focusing here and there. DR. BETH HARRIS: This painting is often compared to an early Renaissance painting by Raphael's teacher, Perugino, The Giving of the Keys to St. Peter. And you can begin to see here in this early work by Raphael indications of what we understand now as the High Renaissance style, as opposed to a kind of stiffness of the 15th century, of the early Renaissance. Raphael gives us figures who seem to move very easily and elegantly. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: So make no mistake. This is a painting that is still clearly indebted to Perugino. But I think you're absolutely right. Raphael is beginning to step out of his master's shadow. He signed the painting, and if you look very closely at the front of the temple, you can see it says Raphael Urbinus, Raphael from Urbino. And there is a beautiful sense of elegance, especially in the Virgin Mary. She is painted so tenderly. DR. BETH HARRIS: And she stands in a lovely contrapposto, tilts her head down. There's that typical Raphael sweetness. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: So whereas the early Renaissance so often was trying to reveal the truths of what we see of the world that we live in, here there's an attempt to perfect, to create a kind of balanced, harmonious representation of an ideal, Heavenly place. DR. BETH HARRIS: Ideal beauty, perfection, harmony are qualities we associate with the High Renaissance. And we see that in the background of this painting. If we follow the linear perspective system and we track the orthogonals created by those paving stones behind the frieze of figures in the front, we see a centrally planned temple in the background, a form that was considered ideal by the architects and the artists of the High Renaissance. We can think of Bramante, for example, and his Tempietto. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: It's a spectacular building. And I love the way that the linear perspective leads our eye back there past the frieze of figures in the foreground. And then our eyes are allowed to move around that arcade that's occupied by those smaller figures. But then my eye goes back to the doorway and then through the building to the doorway on its far side and to the sky that's revealed beyond even that. And there is that diminishment of the scale of the one doorway and then the farther doorway giving us a real sense of the completeness of this space. DR. BETH HARRIS: There's a real love of creating an illusion of space and the way that the sizes of the figure shift as we move further back into space. We have this real harmony here that I think is very typical of the High Renaissance between the architecture and the figures where one ennoble another, where one is as ideal and perfect as the other. It's this High Renaissance moment, although the very beginnings. DR. STEVEN ZUCKER: And of course, we're looking with hindsight as to what will happen. [MUSIC PLAYING]