RAPHAEL. Raffaello Sanzio d'Urbino (1483-1520)
Loggie di Rafaele nel Vaticano
Rome: 1772-1777. Copper engraving by Volpato after a drawing by Camporesi, later professional hand-colouring. Good condition. Expert strengthening to verso of right outer blank margin, some old light creasing to 3 inches of the sheet. Sheet size: 26 3/4 x 19 1/8 inches. Plate mark: 25 x 16 3/8 inches.
This beautiful perspective view of Raphael's Loggia, served as the frontispiece to the celebrated text, "Loggie di Rafaele nel Vaticano".
This arresting print is a general perspective view of Raphael's design for the Loggia at the Vatican, with a large profile portrait of Raphael in a medallion over the entrance to the corridor. The plate served as the frontispiece to the first part of the "Logge di Rafaele nel Vaticano", which depicted the decorative work executed by Raphael and his assistants between 1518-1519 in the Vatican. This remarkable print, one of the first to be published of the decoration of the Logge on the main storey of the Vatican apartments, was probably planned as early as 1760, but was not executed until between 1772 and 1776. The project as a whole was carried out by the painter Gaetano Savorelli, the draughtsman Ludovico Teseo, the architect Pietro Camporesi, and the engravers Giovanni Ottaviani and Giovanni Volpato.
The whole series was of importance not just for the size and magnificent colouring of the prints, but also because of the influence they had on contemporary taste. The decision was made to "borrow" elements from Raphael's Vatican tapestries and insert them where the original frescoes were in too poor a state to be legible. The finished plates therefore represented an amalgam of design elements presented with a crisp freshness of colour that held enormous appeal and stimulated the taste for the "grotesque" in the neo-classical period.
Cf. Brunet IV, 1110; cf. Berlin Kat. 4068; Lambert Pattern and Design (V. & A.: 1983), p. 26; "Raphael Invenit: Stampe da Rafaello" (1985) Volpato 1; Raphael: Reproduktions-graphik aus vier Jahrhunderten (Coburg: 1984), p. 104; G. Marini (editor) Giovanni Volpato 1735-1803 (1988) no. 198.