Rafael’s Sexual Orientation
During the Renaissance, there were three painters who can be considered the greatest – both by their influence and by their talent- Michelangelo, Leonardo and Rafael. Rafael is the most talented of all. Theoretically, the painter’s sexual orientation had had a great influence. The orientation has some sort of priming effect, causing him to change the way he chooses to describe reality. Many times, when Rafael had to portray the reality, he tended to insert some homosexual expressions which lacked any significant essence.
These expressions are not well emphasized. The viewer usually needs to keep a close eye on the picture in order to notice them.
The following picture, “Isaia”, may shed some light on my claim:
In the picture, you might have noticed the hand:
The picture itself was hidden from public. Immediately after it has been finished, the picture was not well received. The priest claimed that he had stored it in his office, but he may have instead covered it with fabric. You may be interested to know that this fresca was kept in San Lorenzo church.
In the year 1509, Rafael was working intensively in Rome. Working for the religious circle, he painted classic oriented pictures, as expected from a religious artist.
In the same time, Rafael started working at the tycoon Agostino Chiggi, from the bank business. He was the biggest banker at that time. As normally happens in history, Agostino had close relations with the pope. He had invested much of his money in boosting Julius projects, making the traditional connection of the crony capitalistic world.
Rafael was at his thirties, a handsome man, loved by his surroundings. He was known for his exaggerated drinking of wine. So exaggerated, that his used to faint often. Despite his wild drinking, Rafael was a very successful painter.
With the money he has earned, Rafael has based a hedonistic lifestyle. He was not married. He used to spend a lot of money on luxuries (though stayed rich) and had occasional affairs with men, women and even youth.
Another picture, “Self Portrait”, also contains that ambiguity:
Here, again, a game of hidden hands:
The Triumph of Galatea
The Triumph of Galatea was painted for Agostino Chigi, and was painted on a wall. In the picture, there are nymphs who are attacked by centaurs. Galatea manages to escape the scene, riding on a chariot powered by some kind of dolphins and a cupid.
The cupids in the sky are aiming arrows, which control their targets conscious when hit. The cupids where under orders of Venus, and the character behind the cloud implies that they were just following her orders. Another evidence of their organized structure is the distribution of roles – while three cupids are “archers”, one is a dolphin “accelerator”.
I believe that Rafael tried to say that crimes are not of human belongings, but the God’s preprogrammed plan. The story may be naïve and less theoretical, but it is a beautiful picture after all.
The stufetta is Cardinal Bibbiena’s bathroom, which served as a place to have his associates. As someone who had the chance to go there, I must say that the room is looking very much authentic (I believe it is mainly thanks to the fact it is open for public to visit only since 40-50 years ago). It is a yellow-red room, pretty much lacking lightness (as the light comes throw the walls), there are faucets with hot and cold water and paintings hung all over the place.
As the place contained Roman gods, women in erotic positions and mythological creatures – Julius didn’t want to pay for its carrying out. Due to that, he asked one of his friends to fund and raise the project. The room is located close to Julius’ house. In contrast to the modesty which can be referred to his house, the room in which he used to meet with people was pretty much of a luxury.
Rafael was appointed to plan the room. Rafael personally painted the walls, and planned the architecture. The pictures portray pagan pictures, not to mention their sexual nature. The room is quite shocking, as it is hard to imagine the pope enjoying and regularly meeting people using a place decorated by such pictures.
What did the pope believe in? Were we faced with a hypocrite person who was addicted to all hedonistic shallowest pleasures?