Workshop of Raphael
(School of Raphael, after Donatello)
Copy from Donatello's "Miracle of the Miser's Heart"
early 16th century
10 1/16 in. x 8 in. (25.56 cm. x 20.32 cm.)
Medium and Support
pen and brown ink on laid paper
Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III
This drawing reproduces one of Donatello’s reliefs for the high altar of Padua’s Sant’ Antonio church. Raphael incorporated elements from Donatello’s relief in several of his own paintings. The three figures in the center of this composition appear on the very right edge of Raphael’s School of Athens in the Vatican’s Stanza della Segnatura. This drawing, believed to be a copy of a now lost Raphael drawing after Donatello by a member of Raphael’s workshop, is among the first collection of old master drawings to arrive in the United States, at some point during the second quarter of the eighteenth century. The drawing came to the college as part of the bequest by James Bowdoin III in 1811, which established the oldest public collection of drawings in the United States.
Recognized as one of the most talented artists in history, Raphael honed his skills and trained his assistants through the imitation of established models. Copying was then and still is today a significant part of the formal training of any budding artist and often complements the study of live models. Raphael referenced the work of Donatello (ca. 1386--1466) many times throughout his career. The three figures drawn in this study after a relief in Donatello’s high altar of Sant’Antonio, Padua reappear on the right edge of the steps in Raphael’s renowned fresco “School of Athens” in the “Stanze” of the Vatican (1509--11). This drawing might have circulated in Raphael’s studio as part of a repository of images waiting to be reengaged in future projects.
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