Why Fine Art Cartoons by Raphael Aren’t Funny

Why Fine Art Cartoons by Raphael Aren’t Funny
The original meaning of a cartoon was a preparatory drawing for a painting or tapestry. I will discuss cartoons by the Renaissance artist Raphael and where you might find one of the best textile conservation labs in the country.

The Rafael Cartoons date back to 1515-1516. A set of ten were commissioned by Pope Leo X for the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace.

These colorful cartoons were painted in a glue distemper medium on many sheets of paper glued together. The subject matter of the Rafael Cartoons was religious, depicting scenes from the Bible. They extend three yards tall by three to five yards wide and are currently mounted on canvas backings.

Seven of the ten Raphael Cartoons for tapestries are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Their condition is said to be very good, despite their age. The whereabouts of the other three cartoons are unknown.

Tapestries are the same picture of the cartoon except they are instead a mirror’s image, as they are worked from behind. The tapestries commissioned for the Sistine Chapel were woven in Brussels, Belgium.

One of the best textile conservation labs in the country happens to be in New York City. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the largest cathedral in the world and has conserved textiles from the cathedral’s own collection as well as the Barberini Tapestries and the cartoons by Raphael.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is able to proclaim the title as the largest cathedral in the world because St. Peter’s in Rome is technically not a cathedral.

St. John the Divine, located on Cathedral Parkway, is said to be large enough to fit the Statue of Liberty under its dome. Its nave reaches 124 feet high.

In terms of architecture, the design of the Cathedral is French High Gothic of the 13th century as well as Romanesque with Byzantine columns and arches.

This photo is courtesy of Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

You can own a cartoon by Rafael for the "Mackintosh Madonna."


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