I visited the Cast Courts at the V & A to study Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, so as I was there I went to see the Raphael cartoons. It is excellent being able to see them all together. I could have studied any of them for the exercise on narrative paintings but I found The Sacrifice at Lystra appealed to me the most. I’m not sure why, perhaps it is the way that Raphael has composed the painting with the throbbing crowd on the right and the two saints, slightly removed, on the left. Or perhaps it was the portrayal of the executioner, the way in which he had been painted really expressed the power of the blow he was about to strike on the unfortunate animal.
The slight problem I had is that the room was rather dimly lit (I guess for conservation purposes), which made it slightly more difficult to see the detail.
The sheer scale and number of the works is overpowering.
I also learned from this research just what a cartoon is. I already knew that, in artistic terms, it wasn’t just a humorous drawing, but in this case it was used to produce a design for transfer on to a tapestry.
My notes on the painting can be found here:Raphael Lystra