Note: Raphael's Transfiguration


Raphael's painting of the Transfiguration (at the Vatican Museum, pictured here), was described by Mary Shelley in her Rambles in Germany and Italy (Travel Writing, p. 191):

"In artistic power, this picture is said to surpass every other in the world. The genius of its author is shown in its admirable composition, in the spirit of the attitudes, in the life that animates each figure, without alluding to technical merits, which, of course, are felt even by those who cannot define, nor even point them out. Yet, this picture does not afford me great pleasure--no face is inspired by holy and absorbing passion; and the woman, the most prominent figure, is a portrait of the Fornarina, whose hard countenance is peculiarly odious."

The painting was in fact copied in a mosaic altarpiece at the Capella Clementia, St. Peter's, Rome.


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