Umbria And Her Artist
( Originally Published 1912 )
THE traveler from Rome to Florence has his choice of two routes. The one runs fairly directly through Orvieto and Chiusi, old Etruscan strongholds, passing Lake Trasimene on the right, then on into the valley of the Arno to Arezzo and Florence. It is the great route, along which has passed the heavy and the urgent traffic in all times. The other begins like the first, but soon diverges to the right, through romantic valleys and past many a city set upon a hill in the long tour through Umbria, quietest and loveliest of all Italy. We pass Terni with its hidden fall, and Narni, high perched above its broken bridge, and Spoleto, whose cathedral has the last word from Fra Lippo, and Spello, and Assisi, double shrine of Francis and of Giotto, and last of all, Perugia, before our long wandering route, threading the defile made memorable by Hannibal's victory, rejoins the direct route at the corner of Lake Trasimene.
Perugia, easily first among the cities of Umbria, was the natural headquarters for the art that should express the spirit of this smiling plain which spreads out at her feet. It is a land of peace, naturally isolated from the busier centers and more frequented routes lying to the west, like a little land-locked bay, from whose placid bosom we listen to the surf outside. Umbria was too small to dominate the thought of Italy or to produce ideals which could long survive in full competition with those of Florence, but she was large enough and sufficiently isolated to produce ideals which were singularly perfect as the expression of her own character and inner life.
It will not be worth our while to trace the development of Umbrian art from its beginnings down to the day when it was merged in the great world art. It is the same story of early darkness and slow groping toward the light that we have seen in Florence, only littler, briefer, and less eventful. Umbria never had a Giotto or a Masaccio or a Donatello. It had to suffice her, as well it might, that she produced a Perugino and a Raphael, the one representing her art in its highest local or provincial form, the other the bearer of her ideals to the great world art inaugurated by Leonardo. Perugino must therefore do duty alone as the representative of the local Umbrian art. Even so, he must be content with our very brief consideration.
In a quiet chapel of Santa Maria Maddalena in Florence, erected by the famous family of the Pazzi, who met their doom by conspiring against Lorenzo, is Perugino's Crucifixion (B 268), a large fresco which admirably represents his art. Following the suggestion of the vaulting above, he has divided the wall into three parts, framed by arches and piers. In the central division is the crucifix with the mourning Magdalen, and in the two side compartments the figures of Mary and John. Delicate Umbrian landscapes of the kind that Perugino loved, form modest but beautiful backgrounds for all.
It is apparent at a glance that the painter belongs to the old school. No Florentine artist for the last hundred and fifty years has been so formal in his symmetry as is Perugino. Formalism characterizes also the action and the expression of emotion. The intensest dramatic situations never break the calm and decorum of his characters. It is difficult, as we gaze upon this impressively formal scene, or upon the Pietà of the Pitti Gallery, with its perfect composure, to believe that Perugino was once a fellow pupil of Leonardo in the studio of Verocchio, or that he later studied under the great magician himself. He was plainly deeply stamped with the conservative Umbrian character.
Passing from these general characteristics to more trifling traits, we are again impressed with the way in which local peculiarities have here resisted the corrective influence of the larger center. The hands and feet are too small, as in the St. Sebastian of the Louvre. The mouth is absurdly small, and is pursed up in silly affectation, very conspicuous in an inferior work like the Madonna and Angels of the Poldi-Pezzoli Gallery, Milan, but distinctly traceable even in so noble a work as the Certosa Altarpiece, London, unquestionably his masterpiece. These faults of proportion and expression, which are evidently not accidents, but carefully studied, are local mannerisms and affectations such as characterize the small community. They have their origin in the traditional honor paid to small feet, hands and mouth, and are an effort to express delicacy and refinement. How superficial such an effort, it is unnecessary to remark. These mannerisms are at their worst in the representation of the Christ child, who becomes the most insufferable bundle of affectations that can be imagined, with scarce a vestige of infantile character remaining.
But having noted the formalism and affectation of this Umbrian art, there remains the pleasanter task of noting Perugino's individuality and real excellence. He is like certain prim and formal people whom we have all known, who at first impressed us only by their peculiarities of manner, but who, when once known, revealed a substantial worth we were astonished that we had overlooked, and which ultimately made us half love the mannerisms with which they are associated. The virtues of Perugino are of so quiet and unobtrusive a sort that they often remain long unnoticed, but they are none the less real virtues, and entitle him to a high rank in art. Among these virtues we must notice chiefly his unfailing refinement which pervades the innermost spirit of his work, and the sincerity of his feeling. It is difficult to imagine the Crucifixion or the Mourning over the Body of Christ (B 269) in anything like such a form as Perugino conceives them, but the longer we observe these quiet scenes, the more impossible it becomes to doubt that these mourners really feel, and that the calm that pervades the scene partakes of the composure which characterizes deep grief, as well as of the decorum of art. The refinement, too, which characterizes all Perugino's more serious work, is not a matter of surface elegance, but of inner character. There are better ways of showing this refinement than by small extremities and baby mouth, but there are few better things to show. To Perugino, too, must be credited a very beautiful,, if somewhat artificial, conception of landscape, which he uses in true Italian fashion as a background or setting to his pictures. The slender trees are a little mannered, like his figures, but the amber skies and mild Umbrian beauty of hill and vale are infused with his own refined spirit.
It was to such a teacher as this, refined and sincere, in-finitely painstaking and conscientious, but mannered and formal, that the young Raphael, the great exponent of Umbrian art, was to owe his earliest and most enduring lessons. Of all the artists of the Renaissance, none responded so readily as Raphael to outside influences, nor did any meet influences more varied or powerful, but it is hardly too much to say that in all his best work the influence of Perugino is traceable, and that the waning of that influence, in its deeper essence, measures Raphael's decadence.
Raphael's earliest work is undoubtedly to be found tangled up with that of Perugino, whose foible it was to make a large use of his pupils in the rather perfunctory works with which he kept the pot boiling, while he saved leisure for superior works. Independent works, however, soon appear. Such is the Vision of a Knight, a very youthful attempt to express the familiar opposition between the claims of the strenuous and the voluptuous life. The close resemblance of the maiden on the right to Perugino's figures, even such mannerisms as the tip of the head and the jug-handle bit of drapery behind, is noticeable, with no special message or skill to indicate that a greater than Perugino is here. The Solly Madonna (C 143) from Berlin, an early work comparable to Perugino's Madonna with Angels, is hardly more promising. The face is scarcely more beautiful, the mouth is equally petty and mannered, and the child even more impossible. Raphael is not one of the precociously great.
Having started with the Solly Madonna, let us follow the evolution of this theme a few steps farther. The Spozalizio, or Marriage of the Virgin (C 148), the great glory of the Brera Gallery in Milan, reveals Raphael as an independent artist, but still surprisingly dependent upon the work of other men. The picture is confessedly derived from another on the same subject now in Caen, a picture long attributed to Perugino, but perhaps by another and older pupil. Raphael has followed very closely, but he has improved a little at every point. He represents the dome of the temple more fully, corrects some confusing perspective in the side porches, and limbers up the stiff group in the foreground, besides other minor improvements, the whole amounting to a considerable advance, but suggesting very little creative power.
It is the figures at the left, however, which for the moment concern us. They are very much like those of Perugino. A careful observer will notice in the face of the maiden at the extreme left a slight improvement of outline and general prettiness, but she has the same mincing mouth and affected manner. The older woman standing near is even less satisfactory, being a thin disguise for the same type; but the baby mouth and affectation ill accord with age. So far Raphael is utterly conventional, a slave to the foibles of the Umbrian manner. But the maiden in front, standing in profile, with her golden hair falling over her shoulders, though plainly of the same type, shows an improvement so great as to redeem the whole. It is not too much to say that in all time she has been the center of interest and that her charm has quite obscured the conventionality of the other figures. She is Raphael's first masterpiece. Yet it is difficult to define the change. It consists of little things, and nowhere involves contrast or change of ideal. The meaningless peculiarities of drapery, the affectations of manner and expression have been eliminated, and the veil of mannerism thus removed, we see essentially Perugino's lovely ideal in her real character and charm. That is all, but that is much.
(C 149) The next step in our progress is the Madonna del Granduca. Again, we cannot define the change, as compared with the preceding. It is only when we go farther back, to the Solly Madonna, that we appreciate how great is Raphael's progress. It is the same lovely type, but the beautiful face is free from all affectations now, and the mouth, though still delicate, is natural. The face is serious, and the sensitive observer will detect a fugitive expression of something which is not quite happiness, perhaps a haunting premonition, or it may be, only a touch of embarrassment. The adjustment is not quite perfect, and serenity is incomplete. We are not quite clear whether this is an accident or a studied adaptation. Raphael has shown no sign as yet of Leonardo's subtlety in dealing with these faintest shades of feeling, nor is he later disposed to represent the shadow upon the Madonna's face. None the less, the suggestion we have noticed here is not inappropriate, and the Granduca will remain to many the most beautiful of Raphael's creations.
One more step, however, brings us to the full realization of Raphael's early ideal, the complete transfiguring of the art of Perugino and of Umbria. It is significant that this next step was taken outside of Umbria and under a new influence. The place was Florence and the influence none other than that of the great Leonardo. It is significant both of the profound naturalness and universality of Leonardo's art, and of the equanimity of Raphael's temperament, that this all-important step seems to us a perfectly logical continuation of his Umbrian development. Of the three Madonnas painted at this time, la Belle Jardinière (C 156) of the Louvre, Paris, is best known, but not the most significant. The exquisite Madonna del Prato (C 158) of Vienna, which again many would put first in Raphael's long list, is least known. It is significant as being the only one which retains a trace of that seriousness bordering on sadness, which we notice elsewhere only in the Granduca. This has little affinity for the temperament of either Raphael or Leonardo, but is easily accounted for by the traditional theme.
(C 151) As we come now to the Madonna of the Goldfinch (del Cardellino) of the famous Tribuna in the Uffizi, Florence, we reach the fullest expression of the ideal whose development we have been tracing, an expression never surpassed by Raphael or any other. Moreover, since in all Raphael's later work, when he was striving for vaster effects and consciously pursuing different ideals, we trace as the most irrepressible element in his art, the spirit which is here consciously supreme, we are justified in seeing here the true Raphael. Other creations of Raphael have proved more popular; other Madonnas are more novel, more amazing, possibly in some sense, greater art, but none is more beautiful ; above all, none is more representative of Raphael. With all his passion for assimilating the spirit and manner of other artists, Raphael had a pronounced temperament of his own, which never surrendered its sway, even in the presence of the most potent and alien influences. That temperament had found favorable environment at first in the serene provincialism of Umbrian tradition, had partially emancipated itself from the congenial thralldom of Perugino's art, and now was fully liberated rather than modified by the inspired touch of the great Florentine. This is the time to study Raphael.
Recalling now our series, the Solly Madonna, the maiden from the Spozalizio, the Granduca, let us notice this perfect face. It is not difficult to see that the ideal has remained essentially unchanged. There is the perfect oval face toward which all have tended, the same lovely blond hair in its comely arrangement, the same guileless purity of impulse. With all his earlier limitations we feel that he meant it so from the first. But these earlier limitations have wholly disappeared. There is perfect refinement, but no mannerism or artificiality. There is the finest imaginable susceptibility, but no painful misadjustment, no discords in the perfect harmony of her being. The shadow of spiritual malaise which we see in the Granduca has here disappeared before the calm sunshine of perfect serenity. It is impossible to think of such a creature as having learned her accomplishments or acquired her charm. By some rare felicity of nature, we have here a glimpse of that first harmony, when life was set to the music of the spheres. It is equally inconceivable that such a creature should experience the conflict of emotions which characterize our Christian view of life. Imagine her under "conviction of sin," striving for "peace with God." Try, in her presence, to think of any of the time-honored phrases that mirror the distracted spirit of Christian consciousness, and the dissonance is instantly apparent. And it is she who triumphs in our thought. The discord dies away, ashamed, in the presence of her perfect harmony. Like a sheltered lake whose mirror surface is ruffled by no unfriendly breeze, is her perfect serenity, a serenity which recalls the art of Hellas in the golden age of Praxiteles, a serenity which Fra Angelico despaired of finding in a world distraught, and turned to Heaven to find. There are other ideals, but hardly better ideals. There is more than one way of being perfect, but this is perfection, and this is Raphael.
The interest of this wonderful picture centers so deeply in the face, that we have purposely isolated it, reserving our consideration of other features for other members of this remarkable group in which they are even better studied. Turning to these more general features, the influence of Leonardo is at once apparent. There is the nature setting, the relaxation of body and mind, the quiet intimacy and unconsciousness of formal occasion and its restraints, which we have already noted as the innovation of the great master. Raphael's early Madonnas, despite their simplicity, have clearly been of the older type. They stand before a worshiping world, conscious of their special character, and with action and feeling adjusted to it. Nor does Raphael wholly break with the old tradition. His Madonna Ansidei of London, painted later than this for chapel purposes, is extreme in its conformity to tradition. It is significant of the changed allegiance of art, that the Madonna just considered was painted as a wedding present, and its companions for similar secular occasions. The wider horizon of Leonardo inevitably stretched beyond the confines of the church.
But in this following of Leonardo, it is interesting to note the persistence of Raphael's Umbrian heritage, and his unique ability to improve what he borrowed. Thus the landscape setting, though suggested by Leonardo, is not in the least like that of the Mona Lisa or the Virgin of the Rocks (C 10, 12). It is of the quiet and lovely Umbrian type, with skies and trees of Perugino's kind. The pyramidal group, too, so carefully sought by Leonardo, is more perfect than that of the London cartoon, and more plausible and pleasing than that of the Madonna with Saint Anne. That which Leonardo had invented and Fra Bartolommeo had mechanized, Raphael has perfected. This admirably illustrates the relative abilities and achievements of the three men. Leonardo invents but never perfects; Fra Bartolommeo never invents, but formulates and reduces to rule; Raphael neither invents nor formulates, but assimilates and perfects with his exquisite taste. The borrower usually degrades and misunderstands; Raphael always improves what he borrows. Such borrowing, however direct, is hardly plagiarism, or, if plagiarism, it is a plagiarism that is entitled to honor.
The list of Raphael's later Madonnas is a long one, and marked with brilliant achievement, but it is difficult to trace farther the consistent development of an ideal. This is partly due to the exhaustion of the primary theme, — for it was as futile to try to surpass, as it was unsatisfactory to repeat the Leonardo-Umbrian type, — and partly to his permanent removal to Rome where, in this meeting place of the nations, his susceptible nature was exposed to a multitude of influences which even his genius for assimilation could not fuse into a harmonious ideal. Mention has been made of the Madonna Ansidei and its return to the formal religious type, a type for the deeper meaning of which Raphael shows little aptitude. Its amazing delicacy and refinement scarcely lift it from the domain of symbolism, into the higher realm of inspired art. The Madonna Garvagh, which hangs close beside it in the London Gallery, a work of doubtful authenticity, is uniquely rather than significantly beautiful. The Madonna di Casa Tempi in Munich carries to rather extravagant lengths the new nature motive of Leonardo. In all these as in most of his later works, we note sporadic experiments, often unsuccessful, sometimes unworthy. Only in rare instances does one of these isolated efforts result in a masterpiece. Two such call for special notice.
The Madonna of the Chair (C 188) rivals the Sistine in popular favor. It is absolutely of the nature type, religious suggestion being wholly lacking, but the artist is no longer dependent upon the green fields which were Leonardo's suggested setting. The setting is an interior with the simplest of detail. The picture derives its significance and even its popularity with the untechnical, primarily from its superb composition and the means by which that has been secured. It is the culmination of a series of experiments in composition for the round frame. These experiments are most familiar to us in the work of Botticelli. Beginning with the almost planless Madonna of the Borghese Gallery, Rome, we pass to the Madonna of the Lilies in Berlin, and to the charming tondo of the London Gallery, in both of which the lines seem to radiate from the top of the picture down-ward. It reminds us somewhat of Leonardo's plan, which was obviously not designed for circular picture. But when we come to the famed Madonna of the Magnificat (B 177), the plan completely changes. The figures are turned sidewise and so arranged that their outline suggests the curve of the frame itself, touching the frame at a single point and curving away from it on a shortening radius. Note the angel on the left, the Madonna on the right, even the child, while the border of the Madonna's robe and other details are sensitive to the same curve suggestion. The space unaccounted for is left in the center of the picture where it is farthest from the frame and requires least adjustment to it. It is an admirable study. Raphael's picture is similar but simpler and better. A single spiral dominates the whole, guiding the eye to the center of interest as surely as it does unconsciously. This is the perfection of a composition which Botticelli had already made excellent.
But we have had occasion to note at the very beginning of our studies, in connection with the profound insight of the Greek artists, how important it is that composition should have its inner motive, its obvious and sufficient justification. It will not do to put figures arbitrarily into the desired place or pose ; they must put themselves there, quite spontaneously and willingly, and for a reason which we can understand and with which we can sympathize. The noblest example we have yet found of a composition at once satisfactory in itself, and worthily motived, is the Battle of Issus, that much dimmed reflection of a Greek masterpiece.
Comparing, in this connection, the work of Botticelli with that of Raphael, we see how far superior is the latter.
Botticelli wants his Madonna to lean over, and so he makes her reach across the beautiful illuminated manuscript to dip her pen in the inkstand which the little angel rather unaccommodatingly holds back. The motive by which Botticelli thus secures the desired pose is wholly uninspiring, not to mention the suggestion of a negligent angel and a possible ink-blot. The composition is excellent, but the motive is trivial, arbitrary and inartistic.
Raphael secures the desired composition by a motive perfectly simple, natural, and unforced, and what is far more important, a motive which commands instant and universal sympathy. The mother bows her head against the face of her babe whom she holds in a close embrace, with a spontaneous outburst of maternal tenderness which would find recognition and sympathy in any age and among any people. As the agonized affection of Darius speaks to us across the ages, so this manifestation of maternal tenderness, decorous but sincere, carries to remotest ages a message which no change of life or thought can ever make unwelcome or obscure. The old religious significance of the Madonna has totally disappeared, but we seem to stand in an even holier presence. All honor to the art which thus finds its theme in the holy and eternal things.
(C 196) The Sistine Madonna, most famous of Raphael's work, belongs to a late period of his art, though it is not, as tradition long asserted, his last Madonna. Later works, however, bear no comparison with this masterpiece, and it may appropriately close our study of this important phase of Raphael's work. In this work mord than in any other, Raphael shows originality of a high order and a perception of some of the profoundest principles of art. It is less characteristic of Raphael's temperament than the exquisite productions of an earlier day, nor have the many influences to which Raphael in this later day was so willingly subject, brought anything to compensate for the loss of the Perugino influence which seems to have quite disappeared. In coloring, and in the infinite perfectness of his workmanship, the work compares unfavorably with the lovely Madonnas of the Leonardo period. But these things are forgotten and should be forgotten in the presence of a conception so noble, so original as this.
We have seen that the ecclesiastical and formal conception of the Madonna, in vogue during the first two centuries of the Renaissance, yielded, under the influence of Leonardo, to the informal and natural conception, with emphasis upon feminine rather than upon religious ideals, and upon natural rather than symbolical motives. It is convenient, if not altogether adequate, to speak of the one as the ecclesiastical and the other as the nature Madonna. Both are, or may be, in a high sense, religious. We have seen that Raphael, while occasionally painting for religious purposes an ecclesiastical Madonna of the most traditional type (the Madonna Ansidei), is immediately attracted by Leonardo's new nature type, and paints the Madonnas designed for gifts, and there-fore freely expressing his personal taste, in this new character. This new motive he elaborates with many, though not deeply significant, variations. The Madonna caresses the child instead of watching him at play; the interior setting is substituted for the exterior, and so forth. But these are only natural developments of a theme which, in essence, we owe to Leonardo.
As we attempt to assign the Sistine Madonna to its place, we are immediately conscious that we have a new type, neither the ecclesiastical nor the nature Madonna, but one requiring a third category, in which, however, it stands alone. The Madonna is not seated upon the throne or composed for a formal occasion, and in spite of the presence of attendant saints, the suggestion is not that of homage or worship. Still less is this the nature Madonna, care free and filled with thoughts of children's play or maternal tenderness. We have no question as to her love for the child, — such a child, — but for her to turn her attention toward it to embrace or caress it, is unthinkable. There is something else which fills all minds and hearts at this moment with palpitating emotion. The Madonna is here conceived as a celestial being, who appears upon the clouds of heaven and gazes with eyes big with wonder that just hints of anxiety and fear, at the great world which, unconscious, suffering, sordid and inscrutable, reveals itself to her gaze. Nothing can surpass the suggestiveness of this gaze, in which the unconfused simplicity of childhood is tinged with the consciousness of the world's sorrow and the faint foreboding of a Saviour's pain. And in admirable contrast is the face of the child, the artist's supreme triumph, whose wondrous eyes reveal a calm which partakes less of the unconsciousness of childhood than of the infinite repose of the divine. The picture is as unique in the whole range of Christian art as in the art of Raphael himself. To be sure, there are plenty of pictures which represent the Madonna among the clouds, usually ascending and contemplating heaven rather than earth. There are numerous Coronations of the Virgin, which give us ostensibly the celestial rather than the earthly Madonna. But these differences are ordinarily purely nominal. The Madonna gazes, for , the most part, from her cloudy cushions, with the same unemotional complacency as from a cushioned divan, and she receives the crown with no hint in face or posture that she has grown to the part. Everywhere it is objective, materialistic, symbolistic. You know she is going to Heaven because she is standing on clouds instead of earth. You know she is Queen of Heaven because the crown is being placed upon her head. How tired we get of all this sanctity which is a thing of outward signs ! The few great pictures of the world are those in which the meaning is inherent, not attached. She is Queen of Heaven even without her crown, and Queen of Heaven still on earth, for Heaven follows where she goes. Among such pictures the Sistine Madonna must always be accorded a foremost place.
As we revert in thought to the rarity of this creative imagination in Raphael's work, his constant inclination to borrow from other painters motives which they have but imperfectly expressed and to find his opportunity in completing their task, we are constrained to seek an explanation of this extraordinary production. We find no prototype for the Sistine in any other known work. We must rather seek it in Raphael's own. The so-called Donna Velata (C 194) is an admirable portrait of not far from the same period. There is some reason to believe that it is the portrait of a woman to whom Raphael was devotedly attached and to whom he long maintained a relation of affectionate intimacy. Her striking personal characteristic seems to have been the large, lustrous brown eyes which gaze so impressively from the portrait. Eyes so large, so wide open, so lustrous and appealing, easily impress us with the suggestion of unusual sentiments. If serious, they are suggestive of wonder ; if the mood be a trifle somber, they deepen the suggestion of pathos. Daily life furnishes abundant examples.
Imagine the impression which these deep and haunting eyes must make, in long association, upon a spirit whose natural extreme susceptibility was quickened by ardent affection. Those wondering eyes, so often seen in unconscious musing by the fireside, had a suggestiveness too beautiful to be lost. But where would it find its place in art? Not in the Madonna of the throne. She must not wonder or haunt you with her gaze. She must receive your homage with formal composure. Not in the Madonna of the fields and of the quiet nature setting. Naturalness is not an occasion for wonder, and this deep seriousness tinged with pathos has no place in the beautiful serenity of mother love. The traditional art offered no place where these eyes could find a justification for their deeper suggestion. Spurred on by affection, Raphael finds the place in a new creation, unique in all Christian art, and noble as it is unique.
The Sistine Madonna is undoubtedly an idealized portrait of this object of Raphael's affection. The resemblance to the Donna Velata is unmistakable. Yet the sympathetic observer will be quick to recognize that with all this resemblance, the gulf between the two is profound. Raphael has not repeated the impertinence of Fra Lippo. The Madonna has not been degraded to the level of a woman ; the woman has been exalted to the level of the Madonna. Nothing could better illustrate the true character of art, its essentially creative rather than imitative rôle, than a comparison of these two pictures which owe their origin to a single woman. In the one the woman appears, at her best, but still the woman. In the other she is transfigured. She has but furnished the suggestion for an inspired imagination. So much, and only so much, she may legitimately do.
It seems ungracious, in the presence of such a work, to note the artist's limitations. Were it not that they are significantly present, we might well forego the unwelcome task. Of the mother and child enough has been said, and nothing can be said save in praise. The cherubs below are again in loveliest harmony with the Christ Child whose beauty and heavenly repose they plainly reflect. No whit inferior, too, is the noble Saint Sixtus, whose intense absorption, not merely in the apparition of the Madonna, but in the deep emotion which fills her bosom as she gazes upon the world which he points out below, contributes magnificently to the impressiveness of the whole. But the Santa Barbara to the right does not thus add herself to the larger whole. Kneeling in seeming devotion, she turns the perfect oval of her face toward the spectator for reasons which, however innocent under other conditions, are here disturbing. Ingenuity is taxed to explain satisfactorily this discordant note. She is looking toward the outspread world ; she is turning away from the dazzling brightness of the Madonna, and so forth. But she obviously is doing neither. She is not looking at anything or looking away from anything. The suggestion is one of modest complacency, of delicate consciousness that she is being looked at. In the pictures of this later period which are more complex and ambitious than those of an earlier day, this feature of irrelevant prettiness is seldom absent. Santa Barbara turns her face because it is a pretty face, and Raphael never enters so deeply into the spirit of a great theme that he can resist the appeal of a pretty face. In pictures where quiet, reposeful charm is the pervasive characteristic, this mildly obtrusive beauty love is little noticed, but in a picture deeply imbued with some great passion, or representing some significant incident, the conscious appeal of a pretty face is disturbing. Such themes as these, themes essentially dramatic in character, Raphael was ill fitted by nature to treat. The age in which he lived had learned to care for them above all else. The example of Leonardo's Battle of Anghiari and the Last Supper, and even more, of Michelangelo's great works with their all-dominating emotion, gave countenance to the tendency of the age. The Sistine Madonna, so deeply imbued with sublime feeling, is Raphael's one successful attempt at a spiritually dramatic theme. It is a matter neither for surprise nor for serious criticism that it shows traces of a temperament more at home in other themes.