Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (1483 - 1520) and his workshop:10/28/2021, 5:09:35 PM
Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (1483 - 1520) and his workshop: Portrait of Bindo Altoviti, 1512-15, Oil on wood, 60 x 44 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC Raphael stands alongside Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo as one of art history’s most important masters. As a painter and architect, working in Florence and Rome and for popes and princes, Raphael was a true universal genius of the High Renaissance who constantly sought to strike a balance between naturalist imitation and idealisation. Many of Raphael's paintings have eventful histories of ownership and reception. His art was frequently copied and reproduced in print, and his moveable paintings were more highly sought after than those of any other Renaissance artist. This is why, neither the artist nor the subject of this portrait here were secure for a long period in the history of Raphael scholarship, from about 1750 until 1980's. The ambiguity over the sitter's identity seems to have been provoked by the idealized beauty of Raphael's representation. Today, however, by general consensus the painting is given to Raphael, with the understanding that the design was Raphael's but the execution in paint was carried out by either Giulio Romano or Gianfrancesco Penni. The identity of the young Florentine banker, Bindo Altoviti, is certain, as research on the family stemma and the painting's provenance has confirmed. The exquisitely graceful rendering of the subject stands alone in Raphael's extant corpus of portrait paintings. The posture and the elegance of the sitter are brought into relief by the remarkable lighting that gives a glowing lustre to his skin and caresses it with soft shadows. The work reflects the artist's interest in Venetian painting.