Blackpaint 210

Blackpaint is indisposed at the moment so cannot write very much.

Raphael v. Michelangelo

Returning to this idea from last blog, that I got from Matthew Collings on TV, that you can compare the two and decide which is better; at first I thought it was ridiculous.  After all, sometimes you prefer one thing to another, other times it’s reversed.  Then I thought that you do this with ordinary stuff all the time; why not with the top end?  they may be incredible but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect (maybe perfection is a fault – but no semantics today).

So, the obvious things:  Raphael’s colours are more intense, glowing, subtle – I think first of the rich red to browns, the blue, of course, like Perugino’s but somehow less sharp, and the deep green in the seated Pope.  Michelangelo’s colours are also subtle, apart perhaps from the blue  background to the Last Judgement, but only the Doni Tondo comes anywhere near Raphael for colour.

But the figures – Raphael’s are mostly static.  They sit on  thrones, converse with measured arm gestures, gaze reverently skywards, balance fat-cheeked holy babies on their knees (the babies sometimes reach for a flower, gently).  They are, mostly, clothed.  Revealed flesh is  thick – sinews and bones are well- covered (apart from Michelangelo’s knee, mentioned in last blog).  His compositions are stately.

Michelangelo’s figures are not static; they writhe, twist, gesture violently, flex and display muscles, tear at their hair and generally act up in a Mannerist – manner.  They are frequently naked, often entwined with others or with phallic objects (see the Column of Flagellation in the Last Judgement).  they are sculpted into or out of the “space” of the background.  The compositions are usually in motion, always idiosyncratic (see those young men posturing in the background of the Doni Tondo).

So – Raphael is the better painter, Michelangelo draws better.  I love them both, but Mick for choice!

Stuart Brisley

There’s a new painting by the above in the St.Ives room at the Tate Britain; it’s rather like a Tapies, a black, shallowly- cratered surface with a greeny-grey, sparkling texture like mica in the craters and cracks.  Is “shallowly” a proper word?  Proper blog next time, when my head stops pounding.

Rufus 2 by Blackpaint


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