ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Drawing to Painting: Analyzing Raphael's Alba Madonna

Updated on January 9, 2014
Source

Just like a writer needs a rough draft, a painter needs a drawing before expressing his or her ideas through the final product. Brainstorming is imagination, and drawing is putting it all down on something a little more concrete. Through drawing, an artist can see what roams around in his or her mind. It is a way for a painter to understand his or her inspiration as well as the painter’s first connection with the subject. According to South (2013), “You need to observe and consider the subject, decide on a composition, and make visual notes about it” (para. 3). By analyzing the sketching Raphael completed before the final oil painting of the Alba Madonna, the viewer can decipher a theory of why he began this piece with a drawing. Sayre (2010) explains the step by step process of how the element of Raphael’s drawings were used to form the final composition of the Alba Madonna.

Raphael utilized the drawings before committing it to a canvas as a form of brainstorming or as his first draft of the piece. The materials Raphael needed for his drawings most likely consisted of black chalk, red chalk, metalpoint or charcoal (Capella University, 2013). For Raphael’s paintings, the materials he needed mostly consisted of oil with pigments on wood, panel, or canvas for fresco paintings as well as Tempera on wood (The National Gallery, n.d.). For the Alba Madonna in particular, Raphael used oil paint on panel, which was then transferred to canvas (Kahn Academy, n.d.). Raphael’s paintings were considered unique due to the large amount of paint he used. The difficulties of painting with oil in that era sheds some light on Raphael’s talent, and his amazing ability to create such detailed masterpieces with the unforgiving and ill-tempered form of medium (“Raphael Biography,” 2013).

Source

Calling all painters!

If you are a painter, do you draw or sketch the piece before committing it to canvas?

See results

Sayre (2010) considers the differences between the first couple of drawings and the final composition while tracking how the first drawing eventually became Raphael’s Alba Madonna. These drawings define the beginnings of the Alba Madonna. Through them, the viewer can determine Raphael’s thought process. In the first drawing, Raphael sketches a male model sprawled across the paper that is very similar to the Virgin Mary’s posture in the final composition. In the second drawing, there are a few sketches surrounding the focal point of different versions of how he wanted to paint Christ, John, or Mary. Sayre (2010) informs readers that Raphael drafted the circular format of the painting in the drawing with “a hastily drawn circular frame” surrounding the group (p.175). These drawings illustrate Raphael’s aptness and precision. His paintings would not be considered among the greats, such as Michelangelo and Leonardo if they were not impeccable.

“The drawing is like a brainstorming session, an interactive dialogue where the problem is laid out and solutions discussed. The painting, by contrast, is often more like a complete poem or a finished novella: the plot or the theme established, and followed through to its conclusion” (South, 2013, para. 2). Raphael’s drawings contributed to what most critics call his greatest masterpiece: the Alba Madonna. The “Raphael Biography” (2013) website describes Raphael’s work as products of perfection and grace. The website further enlightens the reader of how Raphael’s drawings contributed to this description of perfection. His drawings were used as a visual note or an outline of sorts, which contributed to the perfection of the Alba Madonna. Achieving his illustrious work through a specific thought process made it much easier for Raphael’s viewers to interpret this particular piece.

SmartHistory, at the Kahn Academy

When attempting to decipher the meaning behind this piece, the National Gallery of Art (2013) insightfully determines the emphasis of the figures’ “gestures and glances centered on a slender reed cross that actually defines the work's meaning” (para. 2). The website continues to explain that the Alba Madonna denotes the well-known story of the Virgin Mary, the Baptist John, and the young Christ. “Church doctrine holds that from birth Christ had an ‘understanding’ of his fate. Here he accepts the cross of his future sacrifice, an action understood as well by his mother and cousin” (National Gallery of Art, 2013, para. 2). In an internet video, Kahn Academy (n.d.) states that Raphael expresses Christ’s innocence through his nakedness and the almost faded halos above Christ and his cousin John’s heads, which the speaker believed would later disappear as it is shown through another painting by Leonardo.

When it comes to art forms, drawing is just as important as painting. Whether one is a writer with a rough draft or a painter with a drawing, that first initial contact with those ideas are important to express through any means. South (2013) emphasizes the importance of drawing before painting a final product by explaining that drawing is about seeing and thinking, and that it gives a painter the framework for the next distinguished masterpiece. It is the skeleton, or backbone, of a painting’s final composition.

Source

References

  • Capella University. (2013). Art final: flash cards [Multimedia]. Retrieved from Quizlet website.
  • Khan Academy (n.d.). Raphael's Alba Madonna [Video file]. Retrieved from Smarthistory website: http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/raphael.html
  • National Gallery of Art. (2013). The Alba Madonna. Retrieved from http://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/gg20/gg20-26.html
  • Raphael Biography. (2013). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphael
  • Sayre, H.M. (2010). A world of art (6th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection.
  • South, H. (2013). Why painters should learn to draw. Retrieved from http://drawsketch.about.com/od/learntodraw/a/drawing-for-painting.htm
  • The National Gallery. (n.d.). Studying Raphael: pigments and mediums. Retrieved from http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/pigments-and-medium

© 2014 Grace Peterson

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • mrod profile image

      Monique Rodriguez 

      3 years ago

      Raphael was a true genius, and caused Leonardo Da Vinci many sleepless nights. Although rivals according to history, both artists contributions changed the world of art forever. We are very fortunate that these works of art have survived through these centuries and are still around for us to admire and cherish. Great article!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)