The L’Orange lecture 2020
Raphael and the Cornucopia of Antiquity. Open lecture by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Pfisterer.
From left to right: Ceres, also known as Abundance, and Aphrodite and Eros ("Aphrodite d'Este").
This lecture discusses the so-called Small Holy Family (Paris, Musée du Louvre) as a key work to understand Raphael’s use of antiquity, as well as his own art theoretical thinking.
This painting reveals not only Raphael’s implementation of the ancient models, but also his peculiar understanding of the relationship between autography and workshop participation in his works.
Additionally, the analysis will show how the concepts of friendship and art as a gift – both inherited from the antiquity – play a crucial role in Raphael’s self-fashioning.
The Small Holy Family thus presents itself as a painted theory of art in emulation with the classical past.
About Ulrich Pfisterer
Ulrich Pfisterer is Director of the Zentralinstitute für Kunstgeschichte in Münich.
Pfisterer has taught Art History at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich since 2006, and has undertaken research at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, the Getty Research Center in L.A. and at CASVA/The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
His interests encompass the fields of early modern art in Europe and beyond, as well as the methodology and historiography of Art History.
He has published books on – among other subjects – Donatello, art literature and theory in the Italian Renaissance, the Sistine Chapel, and the interplay of concepts of erotic or biological procreativity and artistic creativity in early modern Europe.
Currently, he is preparing a collected volume of essays on global artistic exchange and contact zones from c. 1300-1650