Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A previously unknown painting, belonging to a private collector, attributed to Renaissance artist Raphael

Date:
January 29, 2014
Source:
University of Granada
Summary:
A researcher has attributed to the great Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, Raphael the famous Renaissance painter, a work belonging to a private collector in Cordoba, Spain. The painting, entitled the ‘Small Madonna of Foligno’, depicts a scene identical to that of the ‘Madonna of Foligno’ and was probably a preliminary version of Raphael’s painting, which is exhibited in the Vatican Pinacoteca.

University of Granada researcher Luis Rodrigo Rodríguez-Simón, with infrared images of the ‘Small Madonna of Foligno’.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Granada

A researcher at the University of Granada has successfully attributed to the great Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, Raphael the famous Renaissance painter, a work belonging to a private collector in Cordoba, Spain. The painting, entitled the 'Small Madonna of Foligno', depicts a scene identical to that of the 'Madonna of Foligno' and was probably a preliminary version of Raphael's painting, which is exhibited in the Vatican Pinacoteca.

Luis Rodrigo Rodríguez-Simón, lecturer in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Granada, has identified and reliably attributed the work, hitherto by an unknown artist, following a minutely detailed study lasting several years.

He has conducted a technical, scientific study applying a series of advanced instrumental techniques and analytical methods: X-ray, infrared photography, infrared reflectography, fluorescence under ultraviolet light, analysis of paint layers, scanning electronic microscope linked to an Energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis system, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and micro Raman spectroscopy.

As in the Vatican Pinacoteca's original (320 x 194 cm), the background in the "Small Madonna of Foligno" (93.5 x 66.5 cm) is a landscape. The composition has a heavenly upper plane, where the Virgin appears with the Child, and a lower earthly plane. Here, we find Saint John the Baptist, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Jerome, the camerlengo to Pope Julius II, Sigismondo de' Conti who commissioned the work, and an angel in the centre.

Change of support

The painting arrived in Cordoba from France in the late 19th century. The paint layer study has revealed that the work was transferred from wood to canvas in the second half of the 19th century. A preparation of several layers of lead white over a set of three canvases has been found. This corresponds to the way in which paintings were transferred from one support to another at that time in France. Other paintings by Raphael -- 'The Ecstasy of Saint Cecilia' (Pinacoteca Comunale, Bologna, Italy) and The 'Madonna of Foligno' itself (Vatican Pinacoteca) -- underwent the same change.

The University of Granada researcher discovered two hidden fragments of paper, stuck to the frame, which confirm that the change of support happened in France. The first is written in French, in iron-gall ink, and gives the date as "16 Avril" and the year, 1888. The other is part of a page from a printed catalogue of works of art to be sold through the "Hotel Drouot" auction house in Paris and dated in 1872.

Raphael's signature

Using infrared photography, Dr. Rodríguez-Simón identified Raphael's preliminary sketches for the painting, as well as a combination of different graphic techniques in the underdrawing. "The practice of working with different drawing instruments, ranging from chalk to brush, has been found in many of Raphael's works," he says.

Moreover, the study found a direct correspondence between the underdrawing of the Virgin's head in this painting and a drawing on paper in the British Museum, London, known as "Study for the head of the Virgin," proving that both were created by the hand of Raphael himself.

In the 'Small Madonna of Foligno', two letters decorate the cuff of the Virgin's tunic: the capital letters "R" and "U," the initials of Raffaello de Urbino. "Raphael stamped a similar rubric in the decoration that is part of the brocade adorning the same cuff in the major work, held in the Vatican Pinacoteca, with the same theme," explains Dr. Rodríguez-Simón.

Similarly, he has also discovered the first letters of the name Raffaello or Raphael and the year 1507, which have been incised, when the paint was fresh, in the flesh colour of the Virgin's right hand.

Infrared photography has also led to another discover of major importance: the existence of numbering on both the upper and right sides and short hairsbreadth lines all around the edge of the painting, some 2.9 cms apart. "These graphics can be explained by the use of the method of squaring to transfer this composition to a larger scale, as shown by the number of squares and the fact that they are so small," says Dr. Rodríguez-Simón.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Granada. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Granada. "A previously unknown painting, belonging to a private collector, attributed to Renaissance artist Raphael." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129075812.htm>.
University of Granada. (2014, January 29). A previously unknown painting, belonging to a private collector, attributed to Renaissance artist Raphael. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129075812.htm
University of Granada. "A previously unknown painting, belonging to a private collector, attributed to Renaissance artist Raphael." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129075812.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — After testing DNA from a shawl found near one of Jack the Ripper's victims, a scientist said he'd identified the killer. New reports refute the claim. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — A 380-million-year-old fish may be the first creature to have copulative sex - and it was side by side with arms linked, like square dancers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) — Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins