Fra Angelico vs. Raphael


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In the "art quiz" thread that I posted a few days ago, Victor made the claim that one of the paintings I posted bore a striking similarity in style to the work of Raphael, a painter from the High Renaissance. Victor, in fact believed the painting to be done by Raphael....

Damn! And the style is so similar.

Actually....the styles and techniques of the two artists (who shall remain nameless for the moment) are wildly different. As I mentioned, they lived in two distinct artistic epochs (though fairly close to one another in time), and the artist not represented here (the one you were thinking of) was much more advanced with his figure-work, chiaroscuro, and perspective than was the artist of #1.

Well, it's a judgement call. Yes, I agree that [blank] was more advanced--technique-wise, but similar subject matter and style can be seen there. Let the viewers decide once you reveal the artist's true identities.

As has been noted, the painting presented in the Art Quiz (The Annunciation) was actually done by a well known, early Renaissance painter named Fra Angelico, and was completed around 1430 (Raphael did not start painting until the early 1500s).

As matter of good art history and the development of a critical eye for artistic style, composition and technique, I'd like to present the two artists side-by-side, and in doing so will maintain my previous position that the two artists, in truth, have very little in common....and that it would be difficult for the trained eye to mistake one for the other.

As I've previously stated, the most notable and distinguishing differences between the two being in perspective, figure-work and chiaroscuro (shading). These characteristics are also good, general marker points for the differences between the early and high renaissance periods. With early renaissance painters, there is definitely a move towards strong three-dimensionality; the idea and execution of the illusion of perspective in both landscapes and figures becomes important, but with the artists of the early renaissance, in particular Fra Anelico, the technical execution is still awkwardly rendered in both respects Further, with the early renaissance painters, the figures and shading contain lots of remnants from earlier, even less advanced, Byzantine art. The most notable style carry over being gilded paintings, or the use of gold paint, particularly in religious iconography. The available pigments of the time also leave an indelible mark on the artistic style. Also, with both, you'll typically see only head-on, full-profile, or three-quarters faces, (with the early renaissance painters making strides towards more complex and fully 3-d facial renderings) and in turn, it is clear that early renaissance painters hadn't yet quite figured out the craft of chiaroscuro. Consequently, their figures typically look like low relief friezes (which is very true of Fra Angelico's work). This is well contrasted by the rich, full and voluptuous three-dimensionality (in both the use of horizon-point landscape perspective and foreshortening etc. in the rendering of figures) of high renaissance painters like Raphael and Michelangelo.

I'll leave the viewer to consider these few representative works from each of the two artists, before I make any further remarks.

The Annunciation, by Fra Angelico (1430)


Virgin and Child with Sts Dominic and Catherine of Alexandria, Fra Angelico


St Francis Receiving the Stigmata, by Fra Angelico


The Story of St Nicholas, by Fra Angelico



The Annunciation, by Raphael (1502)


Madonna of Belvedere (Madonna del Prato), by Raphael


The Transfiguration, by Raphael


St Michael and the Satan, by Raphael,



Edited by R. Christian Ross
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Funny how the pre-Raphaelities actually borrowed a lot of their technique from Raphael.

Are you serious or joking? To me, the difference in skill at handling perspective between Fra Angelico and Raphael seems so startlingly obvious as to be like viewing a "quantum leap."



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Funny how the pre-Raphaelities actually borrowed a lot of their technique from Raphael.

Well, they did a good enough job to have me fooled. <_<

Wait a minute, did I miss something? Weren't Mr. Jones talking about the Pre-raphaelites?



Weren't he making a li'l jokey? Fra Angelico was in no position to "borrow" anything from Raphael unless he was a close up friend of Marty McFly. :bug:

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