Dornach, 1st November, 1916
In our last lecture we
showed the period of Art which finally merged into that of the great
masters of the Renaissance. We ended by revealing the connecting threads
in the artistic world of feeling, which finally led up to what was so
wondrously united in Leonardo, in Michangelo and in Raphael. Yet at the
same time, in these three masters we must also see the starting point
of the new age, in an artistic sense. It is the dawn of the 5th
post-Atlantean age, which is heralded in the realm of Art. All three
were living, at the beginning of the 5th post-Atlantean age. Leonardo
was born in 1452, Michelangelo in 1475 and Raphael in 1433; Leonardo
dies in 1519, Raphael in 1520, and Michelangelo in 1564. Here we find
ourselves at the starting point of the new age. At the same time,
something is contained in these artists which we must undoubtedly regard
as a culmination of the spiritual stream of preceding ages, inasmuch as
they poured their impulses into the realm of Art. It is true, my dear
friends, that in our time people have little understanding for what is
important in this respect, for in our time — I do not say this as
mere criticism — art has been far too much expelled from the
spiritual life as a whole. It is even considered a failing of the
historian or critic,
if he seeks once more to give Art its place in the spiritual life as
a whole. People say that our attention is thus diverted unduly from
the artistic or aesthetic impulses as such, attaching an excessive value
to the content, to the subject-matter, and yet, this need not be the
case at all. Indeed, it is only in our own time that this distinction
has acquired so much importance. It had no such direct significance
in former epochs — epochs when the artistic understanding was
more developed in the ordinary common sense of the people. We must not
forget how much has been done to extirpate a true artistic understanding
by all the atrocities which have been placed before the human mind of
men in recent times, by way of pictorial representation and the like.
True understanding for the manner of representation has been
lost. European humanity, in a certain sense, no longer cares how a given
subject-matter is presented to it. In wide circles, artistic understanding
has to a large extent been lost.
Speaking of former epochs,
and especially of the epoch to which we are now referring, we may truly
say artists such as Raphael, Michelango and Leonardo were by no means
one-sidedly artistic, but carried in their souls the whole of the
spiritual life of their time and created out of this. In saying this,
I do not mean that they borrowed their subject-matter from the spiritual
life of their time. I mean far more than this. Into the specifically
artistic quality of their creation, in form and colouring, there flowed
the specific quality of the world-conception of that time. In our time,
a world-conception is a collection of ideas which can, of course, be
represented in sculpture or in painting and it is frequently embodied,
needless to say, in forms and colours and the like which to the true
artistic sense will nevertheless
be an atrocity. In this respect, unfortunately, we must repeatedly utter
warnings, even within our anthroposophical stream of evolution. The
feeling for what is truly artistic is not always prevalent among us.
I still remember with a shudder how at the beginning of the theosophical
movement in Germany a man once came to me in Berlin, bringing with him
reproductions of a picture he had painted. The subject was: Buddha under
the Bodhi Tree. It is true there sat a huddled figure under a tree,
but the man — if you will pardon me the apt expression —
understood as little of Art as an ox, having eaten grass throughout
the week, understands of Sunday. He simply thought, here is the subject;
let us paint it, and it will represent a work of Art. Of course, it
represented something. Namely, he who imagined the scene to himself
— “Buddha under the Bodhi Tree” — could see
it so, no doubt. But there was absolutely no reason why such a thing
should ever have been painted.
It is a very different thing
when we say of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, that they bore within
them the whole way of feeling which permeated the Italian civilisation
of their time. For this civilisation entered livingly into the artistic
quality of their work, into their whole manner of presentation; nor
can we fully understand these artists if we have no feeling for the
civilisation in the midst of which they lived. Today, indeed, people
believe the most extraordinary things. They will believe, for instance,
that a man can build a Gothic church even if he has not the remotest
notion of High Mass. Of course, he cannot do so in reality. Or they
believe that one can paint the Trinity even if one has no feeling for
what is intended to be living in it. In this way, Art is expelled from
its living connection with the spiritual life as a whole. At the same
time, on the other hand, people fail to understand the artistic element
as such, imagining that with aesthetic views and feelings which happen
to be prevalent today they can set to work and ciriticise Raphael or
Michelangelo or Leonardo, whose whole way of feeling was quite different.
It was only natural (though I should need many hours to say in full
what should be said on this point), it was only natural for them to
be living in the whole way of feeling of their time. We cannot understand
their creative work unless we understand the character which Christianity
had assumed at the time when these artists blossomed forth. You need
only remember that at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th
century Italian Christianity witnessed the rise even among the Popes, of
men who truly cannot be said to have satisfied even the most rudimentary
demands of morality, nor need one be in any way a pietist to say so.
And, of course, the whole army of priests were of like character. The
idea that a specific moral impulse must be living in what goes by the
name of “Christian” had been lost sight of, comparatively
speaking. And when in later times it emerged again — in pietist
and moralising forms, by no means identical with what I described the
other day when speaking of St. Francis, — it was imbued with quite
a different feeling of Christianity than inspired those who lived, for
instance, under an Alexander VI, a Julius II or a Leo X. If, on the
other hand, we consider the Christian traditions, the concepts and ideas
(and when I say ideas I include “Imaginations”) connected
with the Mystery of Golgotha, we find them still living in the souls
with an intensity of which the man of today has little notion. Human
souls lived in the ideas connected with the Mystery of Golgotha, as
in a world that was their very own, and they saw Nature herself in the
midst of this same world. We need but call to mind: In that time, even
for the most educated, this Earth, of which the Western half was still
unknown (or was only just begining to be known and was not fully really
reckoned with), — this Earth was the centre of the whole Universe.
Going down beneath the surface of the Earth, one found a subterranean
kingdom; going but a little way above, a super-earthly. We might almost
say, it was as though a man only need lift his arm, to grasp with his
hand the feet of the heavenly beings. Heaven still penetrated down into
the earthly element. Such was the conception — a harmony, an
interplay of the spiritual above and the Earth beneath it, with the
world of the senses which contained mankind. Even their view of Nature
was in this spirit.
Those, however, among whom
we find the three great masters of the Renaissance were striving forth
from yonder age. And the one who harbours within him, as in a seed,
all that came forth since then — nay, much that is still destined
to come forth, — that one is Leonardo. The soul of Leonardo was
equally inclined to the feelings of the former time and of the latter.
His soul had most decidedly a Janus head. By his education, by the habits
of his life, by all that he had seen, he lived with his feelings still
in the olden time. Yet he had a mighty impulse to that conception of
the world which only came forth in the succeeding centuries. He had
an impulse, not so much towards its width as to its depth. From various
indications in my other lectures, you know that the Greeks — and
even the men of later times during the 4th Post-Atlantean age —
knew life quite differently than we do, — that is to say, out
of a different source of knowledge. The sculptor, for example, knew
the human figure from within — from a perception of the forces
that were at work within himself, the forces which we today describe
in Anthroposophy as the etheric. Out of this inner feeling of the human
figure the Greek artist created. In course of time this faculty was
lost. Another faculty now had to appear: the power to take hold of things
with outward vision. Man felt impelled to feel and understand external
Nature. I showed you last time, how Francis of Assisi was among the
first who sought to perceive Nature through a deep life of feeling.
Now Leonardo was the first who endeavoured in a wider sense to add to
this feeling of Nature, a conscious understanding of Nature. Because
it was no longer given to him, as to the men of former ages, to trace
from within outward the forces that are at work in man, he tried to
know these things by contemplation from without. He tried to know by
outward vision what could no longer be made known by inward feeling.
An understanding of Nature as against a feeling for Nature: this is
what distinguishes Leonardo da Vinci from Francis of Assisi, and this
determines the whole constitution of his spirit. He was all out to
understand. And though we need not take it word for word — for
the sources, as a rule, relate only the current legends —
nevertheless, the legends themselves were founded upon fact, and there
is truth in it when we are told how Leonardo took especial pains to
study characteristic faces, so that by dint of outward contemplation
the working of the formative
forces of the human organism might become his own inner experience.
Often he would follow a character about for days and days, so that the
human being might become as if transparent to him, revealing how the
inner being works into the outer form. Yes, there is truth in this,
— and that he invited peasants to his house and set before them
tasty dishes or told them stories, so that their faces assumed every
possible expression of laughter and contortion and he could study them.
All this is founded upon fact. And when he had to paint a Medusa he
brought all manner of toads and reptiles into his studio, to study the
characteristic animal faces. These are legendary anecdotes; and yet
they truly indicate how Leonardo had to seek, to discover the mysterious
creation of Nature's forces. For Leonardo was truly a man who sought
to understand Nature. He tried in an even wider sense to understand
the forces of Nature as they play their part in human life. He was no
mere artist in the narrower sense of the word; the artist in him grew
out of the whole man, standing in the very midst of the turning-point
of time. The church of San Giovanni in Florence had sunk a little, owing
to a subsidence of the soil. He wished to raise it again — a task
that could easily be carried out today; but in that time such a thing
was considered absolutely hopeless. He wanted to have it raised bodily,
as it stood. Nowadays, as has justly been observed, it would only be
a question of the cost; in his time it was an idea of genius, for no
one beside Leonardo thought such a thing was possible. He also thought
of constructing machines whereby men would be able to fly through the air;
and of irrigating great areas of swamp. He was an engineer, a mechanic,
a musician, a cultured man in social intercourse, a scientist according
to his time. He constructed apparatus so unheard-of in that age that
no one else could make anything of them. What poured into his artist's
hand was working, therefore, from a many-sided understanding of the
world. Of Leonardo we can truly say, he bore his whole Age within him,
even as it came to expression in the profound external changes which
were then enacted in Italy. Leonardo's whole life — his artistic
life included — bears the stamp of this his fundamental character.
In spite of the fact that he grew out of the Italian environment, he
was not altogether at home there. True, he was a Florentine, but he
spent only his youth in Florence, and then went on to Milan, having
been summoned thither by the Duke Ludovico Sforza — sommoned by no
means (as we might naively imagine) as the great artist whom we recognise
in him today, but as a kind of court entertainer. From the skull of a
horse, Leonardo constructed an instrument of music, from which he enticed
various notes, and was thus able with great humour to entertain the ducal
house. We need not say that he was intended as a kind of
but as an entertainer to amuse the Court, most certainly. The works
of Art which he produced in Milan, to which we shall presently refer,
were certainly created out of the very deepest impulse of his own being.
But he had not been summoned to the Court of the Sforza's for this
purpose; and though he entered well into all the life at Milan, we find
him afterwards, on his return to Florence, working at a battle-picture,
intended to glorify a victory over Milan. Then we see him end his life
at the French Court.
The one dominating impulse
in Leonardo is to see and feel what interests the human being of his
time; the political events, complicated as they were, more or less swept
past him. He only skimmed off them, as it were, the uppermost and human
layer. Indeed, in many respects he rather gives us the impression of
an adventurer, albeit one endowed with colossal genius. He bears his
whole Age within him; and out of this feeling of his Age as a whole,
his creations arise. We shall present them not in chronological but
in a freely chosen order, for in Leonardo the main point is to see how
he creates out of a single impulse, and for this reason the chronological
sequence is less important.
An altogether different
nature, though possessing the characteristics of the Renaissance in
common with him, was Michelangelo. If we can say of Leonardo that he
bore the whole forces of his time within him (and for this very reason
often came into disharmony with it and remained misunderstood, just
because he understood it in its depths, in the forces that only found
their way to the surface during later centuries), of Michelangelo, on
the other hand, we may say: he bore within him, above all, the Florence
of his time. What was the Florence of his time? It was, in a sense,
a true concentration of the existing order of the world. This Florence
he bore within him. Unlike Leonardo, he did not stand remote from
affairs. The complicated political events around him — and the
whole world-order of that time played into these politics — entered
again and again into the soul of Michelangelo. And when again and again
he went to Rome, he bore his Florence with him, and painting and sculpting
a Florentine element into the Roman setting. Leonardo bore a universal
feeling into the works he created; Michelangelo carried a Florentine
feeling into Rome. As an artist he achieved a kind of spiritual conquest
over Rome, making Florence arise again in Rome.
Thus Michelangelo entered
intensely into all that was taking place through the political conditions
in Florence during his long life. We see this in the succession of his
life-periods. As a young man, when his career was only just beginning,
he witnessed the reign of the great Medici, whose favourite he was,
and by whose favour he was enabled to partake in all that the Florence
of that time could offer to a man's spiritual life. Whatever of ancient
Art and artistry was then available, Michelangelo studied it under the
protectorate of the Medici; and it was here that he produced his earliest
work. Indeed, he loved his protector, and grew together in his own soul
with the soul-nature of the Medici. But presently he had to realise
that the sons of his patron were of quite a different kind. He who had
done so much for Florence — out of an ambitious disposition, it
is true, yet cultivating largesse and freedom — died in 1492;
and his sons proved themselves more or less common tyrants. Michelangelo
had to experience this change in comparatively early youth. Whereas
at the beginning of his career the mercantile spirit of the Medici had
allowed free play to Art, he must now witness this mercantile spirit
itself masquerading as a political spirit, and striving towards tyranny.
Yes, he witnessed on a small scale the rise in Florence of what was
afterwards to take hold of all the world. It was a terrible experience
for him, and yet not unconnected with the whole surrounding world of
the new Age. It was now that he first went to Rome, and we may say:
In Rome he mourns the loss of what he has experienced as the true
of Florence. We can even recognise how the plastic quality of his work
is connected with this great change in his feelings: Into the very line
we notice what the political changes in Florence had brought about in
his soul. Any one who has a deeper feeling for such things will see
in the Pieta in the Vatican a work which in the last resort is born
out of the mourning soul of Michelangelo — Michelangelo mourning
for the city of his fathers.
Then, when better times
returned and he went back to Florence, he stood once more under a new
impression. He felt uplifted in his soul, — Freedom had entered
into Florence once again. He poured out this new feeling into the
great figure of his David. It is not the traditional David of the Bible.
It is the protest of free Florence against the encroaching principle
of “great powers,” of mighty States. Its colossal character
is connected with this very feeling.
Again, when he was summoned
by Pope Julius to decorate the Sistine Chapel, now in a far fuller sense
than before, he bore his Florence with him into Rome. What was it that
he bore with him? It was a whole world-conception, of which we can say
that it shows the rise of the new age, just as truly as we can say,
on the other hand, that in the works of Michelangelo in the Sistine
Chapel, representing the creation of the World and the great process
of Biblical history, we have the twilight of an ancient world-conception.
Thus Michelangelo carries with him a whole world to Rome, — carries
with him something that could never have arisen at that time in Rome
itself, but that could only arise in Florence: the idea of one mighty
cosmic process with all the Prophetic gifts and Sibylline faculties
of man. You will find further explanations on these things in earlier
lectures. These inner connections could only be felt and realised in
Florence. What Michelangelo experienced through all the spiritual life
that had reached its height in the Florence of that time, cannot, in
truth, be felt today, unless we transplant ourselves through Spiritual
Science into former epochs. Hence the usual histories of Art contain
so many absurdities at this point. A man can only create as Michelangelo
created if he believes in these things and lives in their midst. It
is easy for a man to say that he will paint the world's creation. Many
a modern artist would credit himself, no doubt, with this ability, —
but one who has true feeling will not be able to assent. No one can paint
the evolution of the world who does not live in it, like Michelangelo,
with all his being.
But when he returned once
more to Florence, he was already driven, after all, by the new stream,
which — to put it bluntly — replaces the sacramental by
the commercial character. True, he was destined still to create the
most wonderful works, in the Medici Chapel. But in the background of
this undertaking was an element which could not but inspire him with
melancholy feelings. The purpose was the glorification of the Medici.
It was they who mattered, — who in the meantime had become powerful,
albeit less in Florence than in the rest of Italy. Then once more the
political changes drove him back. The betrayal of the Malatestas, their
penetration into Florence, drove him back again to Rome. And now he
painted, as it were, into the Last Judgment, the protest of a Florentine,
the great protest of humanity, of the human individual against all that
would oppose it. Hence the real human greatness of his Last Judgment,
the greatness which it undoubtedly breathed forth, as it proceeded from
his hand. For now, also, parts of it have been completely spoiled.
But he still had to undergo
experiences which entered very, very deep into all the impulses of feeling
in his soul. How many events had he not experienced, how much did they
not signify for the development of his picture of the world: For the
things I have indicated were of great importance to him. They may be
taken abstractly today, but in the soul of Michelangelo they worked
without a doubt as very deep soul-impulses. But we must add that I have
mentioned the fact that he witnessed, too, the great change which came
over Florence through the appearance of Savonarola. This was a protest
within the life of the Church against what was characteristic of that
time in Christianity. So free an Art as was developed in Leonardo and
in many others like him could only unfold in this way inasmuch as the
ideas of Christianity were lifted out of their context and taken by
themselves. I mean the ideas connected with the Mystery of Golgotha
— the conception of the Trinity, of the Last Supper, of the
connection between the earthly and the spiritual realms, and so forth.
All these conceptions, lifted right out of the moral element, assumed
a free imaginative
character which the artist dealt with at his pleasure, treating it like
any worldly subject, with the only difference that it contained, of
course, the sacred figures. These things had been objectified, loosed
from the moral element; and thus the Christian thought, loosed from
the moral element, slid over by and by into a purely artistic sphere. All
this took place quite as a matter of course, and the gradual elimination
of the moral element was a natural concomitant of the whole process.
Savonarola represents the great protest against this elimination of
the moral element. Savonarola appears; it is the protest of the moral
life against an Art that was free of morals, — I do not say, void
of morals, but free. Indeed, we must study Savonarola's will if we would
understand in Michelangelo himself what was due to Savonarola's
But this was not all. You
must imagine Michelangelo as a man who in his inmost heart and mind
could never think in any other than a Christian way. He not only felt
as a Christian; he conceived the order of the World in mighty pictures,
in the Christian sense. Imagine him placed in the midst of that time,
when the Christian conceptions had, as it were, become objectified and
could thus slide so easily into the realms of Art. Such was the world
in which he lived. But he experienced withal the Northern protest of the
Reformation, which spread with comparative speed, even to Italy; and he
also witnessed the great and revolutionary change which was accomplished
from the Catholic side as a counter-Reformation, against the Reformation.
He experienced the Rome of his time, — a time whose moral level
may not have been high, but in which there were free and independent
spirits, none the less, who were decidedly agreed to give a new form
to Catholicism. They did not want to go so far as Savonarola, nor did they
want it to assume the form which afterwards came forth in the Reformation.
They wanted to change and recreate Catholicism by continuous progress
and development. Then the Reformation burst in like another edition,
so to speak, of the Savonarola protest. Rome was seized with anxiety
and fear, and they parted from what had pulsated through their former
life. Michelangelo among others had built his hopes on such ideas as
were concentrated, for example, in Vittoria Colonna, hoping to permeate
with high ethical principles what had reached so great a height in Art.
With a Catholicism morally recreated and renewed, they hoped to permeate
the world once more. Now, however, there arose the great Roman powers,
the strong Catholic ideas, the Jesuitical principle, and Paul IV became
the Pope. What Michelangelo was now to witness must have been terrible
for him, for he saw the seeds of an absolute break with what had still
been known to him as Christianity. It was the beginning of Jesuitical
Christianity. And so he entered on the twilight of his life.
Michelangelo, as I said,
had carried Florence into Rome. With Raphael once again it was different.
Of Raphael we may say, he carried Urbino — East-Central Italy
to Rome. Here we come to that strange magic atmosphere whose presence
we feel when we contemplate the minor artists of that region whence
Raphael grew forth. Consider the creations of these artists — the
sweet and tender faces, the characteristic postures of the feet, the
attitude of the figures. We might describe it thus: Here there arose
artistically somewhat later what had arisen earlier in a moralising
and ascetic sphere in Francis of Assisi. It enters here into artistic
feeling and creation, and leaves a strangely magic atmosphere —
this tenderness in contemplating
man and Nature. In Raphael it is a native quality, and he continues
to express it through his life. This is the feeling which he carries
into Rome; it flows from his creations into our hearts and minds if
we transplant ourselves into the character they once possessed, for
as pictures they have to a great extent been spoilt.
What Raphael thus bears
within his soul, having evolved in the lonely country of Urbino, stnads,
as it were, alone within the time; and yet taking its start from Raphael,
it spread far and wide into the civilisation of mankind. It is as though
Raphael with this element were carried everywhere upon the waves of
time, and wheresoever he goes he makes it felt — this truly artistic
expression of the Christian feeling. This element is everywhere poured
out over the influence of Raphael.
Summing up, therefore, we may
say: Leonardo lives in the midst of a large and universal understanding.
He strikes us, stings us, as it were, into awakeness with his keen
World-understanding. Michelangelo lives in the policical understanding of
his time; this becomes the dominant impulse of his feeling. Raphael,
on the other hand, remaining more or less untouched by all these things,
is borne, as it were, upon the waves of time, and bears into the evolution
of the ages a well-nigh inexpressible quality of Christian Art. This,
then, distinguishes and at once unites the three great masters of the
Renaissance; they represent three elements of the Renaissance feeling,
as it appears to us historically.
Let us now give ourselves up
to the impressions of Leonardo's works. We will first show some of his
drawings, which reveal how he creates his forms out of that keen
understanding of Nature which I sought to characterise just now.
not quite in the historic order, we shall show those of his pictures
which have the character of portraits. Only then will we go on to his
chief creation, the “Last Supper,” Finally, we shall return
and show him once more at his real starting-point. The first picture
is a well-known Self-portrait.
1. Leonardo da Vinci: Portrait of himself. (Milan.)
This, then, is one of Leonardo's
portraits. There follows the other one, still better known.
2. Leonardo da Vinci: Portrait of himself. (Turin.)
3. Verrocchio and Leonardo: Baptism of Christ. (Uffizi. Florence.)
Here we have a picture from
an early period of his development, showing how Leonardo grew out of
the School of Verrocchio. Tradition has it that the finely elaborated
landscape round this figure here was painted by Leonardo in the School
of Verrocchio, and that Verrocchio, seeing what Leonardo could achieve,
laid down his bruth and would paint no more.
4. Leonardo: Studies. (Windsor.)
Here, again, you see how
Leonardo drew — how he tried, even to the point of caricature,
to extract the characteristic features by dint of studious contemplation,
as I described just now.
We need not imagine that
he stood alone in things like this; they had, indeed, been done by others
in his time. Leonardo only stands out through his extraordinary genius,
but it was altogether a quest of the time — this search for the
strong characteristic features, as against what had come forth in earlier
times from higher vision and had grown a mere tradition. It was
of that time to seek for what appears directly to external vision, and
thus bring out with emphasis whatever in the outward features of a being
is most significant of individual character.
5. Death: An Allegory. (Oxford.)
Far more important than
the subject-matter, the point was to study and portray with precision
the positions of the bones and so forth.
7. Landscape. (Windsor.)
This is the portrayal of
8. Portrait of a Woman. (Vienna.)
The two pictures we now
show are not attributed to him with certainty, nor are some others which
we shall see presently, but they bear the character of Leonardo and
are therefore not without connection.
9. La Belle Ferronniere. (Louvre. Paris.)
10. Mona Lisa. (Louvre. Paris.)
In this famous picture we
see the other aspect of Leonardo, where we might say he seeks to attain
the very opposite pole from what was illustrated in the former sketches.
There he tried to discover and bring out with emphasis the individual
and characteristic in all details. People will often not believe that
an artist who can create such a work as the Mona Lisa has any need of
going in the other direction to the point of caricature. I have, however,
often drawn attention to this fact. Think of the inherently natural
impulse whereby our friend the Poet, Christian Morgenstern, went from
his sublime, serene creations to the humorous poems with which we are
familiar, where he seeks the very extremes of caricature. There is this
inner connection in the artist's soul. If he desires to create a work
so inwardly complete, harmonious, serene as this, he often has to seek
the faculties he needs for such creation by emphasising characteristic
individual features even to the point of caricature.
11. Madonna Litta. (St. Petersburg.)
These pictures, which, as
I said, are not in historic order, represent Leonardo in the quality
of an artist seeking for inner clarity, completeness and perfection.
12. Dionysos – Bacchus, heavily painted over. (Louvre. Paris.)
Here is the Dionysos figure,
the God Dionysos. You will find indications on these matters in various
other lectures. The painting is based on proven designs and sketches of
Leonardo da Vinci. However, it is believed that it was carried out by an
unknown student from the workshop of Leonardo and between 1683 and 1693
it was modified and painted to represent Bacchus.
13. St. John the Baptist. (Louvre. Paris.)
15. Madonna of the Grotto. (Paris.)
16. Last Supper. (Sta. Maria della Grazie. Milan.)
We now come to the Last
Supper — which he created, it is true, at an earlier time, and
worked upon during a long period. We have often spoken of it. We know
what an essential progress in the artistic power of expression is visible
in this picture as against the earlier pictures of the Last Supper by
Ghirlandajo and others. Observe the life in this picture; see how strongly
the individual characters come out in spite of the powerful unity of
composition. This is the new thing in Leonardo. The adaptation of the
strong individual characters to the composition as a whole is truly
wonderful. At the same time each of the four groups of disciples becomes
a triad complete and self-contained; and, again, each of these triads
is marvellously placed into the whole. The colour and lighting are inexpressibly
beautiful. I spoke once before of the part of the colouring in this
composition. Here we look deep into the mysterious creative powers of
Leonardo. If we try to feel the colours of the picture as a whole, we
feel they are distributed in such a way as to supplement one another,
— not actually as complementary colours, but in a similar way,
— so much so that when we look at the whole picture at once, we
have pure light — the colours together are pure light. Such is
the colouring in this picture.
17. Head of Christ. (Study for the Last Supper.) (Brera. Milan)
We now come to the details
of the picture. This is generally considered to be an earlier attempt
at the Head of Christ. These reproductions are familiar.
18. Group of Disciples for the Last Supper.
These reproductions of the single figures are in Weimar.
19. Group of Disciples. (Weimar.)
20. Last Supper. (Engraving.)
This is Morghan's engraving,
from which we gain a more accurate conception of the composition than
from the present picture at Milan, which is so largely ruined. You are,
of course, familiar with the fate of this picture, of which we have
so often spoken.
21. Rudolf Stang, The Last Supper. Engraving after Leonardo, completed in 1887.
This is a very recent
engraving, — a reproduction which reveals the most minute study.
It is frequently admired and yet, perhaps, for one who loves the original
as a work of art, it leads too far afield into a sphere of minute and
detailed drawing. Still we may recognise in this an independent artistic
achievement of considerable beauty.
22. St. Jerome. (Vatican. Rome.)
23. Annunciation. (Uffizi. Florence.)
24. Middle group of “Battle of Anghiari”. (Engraving by Gerard Edelinck after the Cretaceous-copy of Peter Paul Rubens.)
Here we have a fragment
of the battle picture projected by Leonardo, which I mentioned a short
We will now go on to
Considering Leonardo once again, you will see there is something in
him which comes out especially when, instead of taking the chronological
order, which is in any case a little uncertain, we take his work in
groups, as we have done just now. Then we see clearly what different
streams are living in him. The one, which comes out especially in his
Last Supper, aims at a peculiar quality of composition combined with
an intense delineation of character. It stands apart and alongside of
that other tendency in which he does not seek this kind of composition.
This other _stream we find expressed in the pictures in the Louvre,
and at St, Petersburg and London, which we showed before the Last Supper.
It might have come forth at any time; one feels it is almost by chance
that the pictures of this kind do not exist from every period in his
life. That which comes to expression in these pictures is in no way
reminiscent of the peculiar composition in the Last Supper, but aims
at a serene composition while seeking to express individual character
to a moderate extent.
We now come to Michelangelo.
To begin with, his portrait of himself.
25. Michelangelo: Portrait of himself.
26. Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs. (Bas-Relief.) (Casa Buonarotti. Florence.)
Here we have Michelangelo
before he reached his independence, working in Florence, perhaps under
the influence of Signorelli and others, still, in fact, a pupil.
27. Madonna of the Staircase. (Casa Buonarotti. Florence.)
28. Bacchus. (Museo Nazionale. Florence. )
29. Madonna. (Bas-Relief.) (Museo Nazionale. Florence.)
And now we think of Michelangelo
moving to Rome for the first time, under all the influences which I
described just now.
30. Madonna. (Cathedral. Bruges.)
Look at this picture and
then at the following one; compare the feeling in the two.
31. Pieta. (St. Peter's. Rome.)
Look at this work. Undoubtedly
it is created under the feeling of his coming to Rome. A more or less
tragic element, a certain sublime pessimism pervades it. Let us return
once more to the former one, and you will see the two creations are
very similar in their artistic character. They express the same shade
of feeling in Michelangelo. We now return once more to the Pieta.
People who feel the story
more than the artistic quality as such have often said that the Madonna,
for the situation in which she is here portrayed, is far too young.
This arose out of a belief which was still absolutely natural in that
time and lived in the soul of Michelangelo himself: — the belief
that owing to her virgin nature the Madonna never assumed the features of
32. David. (Academy. Florence.)
Here you have the work of
which we spoke before. The figure strikes us most of all by its colossal
quality, not in the external sense, but a quality mysteriously hidden
in its whole artistic treatment.
33. The Holy Family. (Uffizi. Florence.)
34. Separation of Light from Darkness. (Sistine Chapel. Rome.)
We now come to the Sistine
Chapel. To begin with, we have the Creation of the World, — the
first stage, which we might describe as the creation of Light out of
the darkness of night.
35. Creation of Sun, Moon and Earth. (Sistine Chapel. Rome.)
This picture bears witness
to a tradition still living at that time as regards the creation of
the World. It was that Jehovah created, in a sense, as the successor
of an earlier Creator, whom He overcame, or transcended, and who now
departed. The harmony of the net World-creation with the old which it
transcended is clearly shown in this picture. Truly, we may say, such
ideas as are expressed in this picture have vanished absolutely; they
are no longer present.
36. Creation of the Animals. (Sistine Chapel. Rome.)
This, then, is the creation
of that which went before mankind.
37. Creation of Adam.
Here we find the creation
of man. There follows the creation of Eve.
38. Creation of Eve.
39. The Fall and Expulsion from Paradise.
We now move more and more
away from the theme of World-creation into the theme of History —
the further evolution of the human race. This is the fall into sin.
40. The Erythrean Sibyl.
We come to the Sibyls, of
whom I have spoken in a former lecture. They represent the one
element in the evolution of man, which is contrasted with the other,
the prophetic quality. We shall see the latter presently in the series
of the Prophets. Here we have the Sibylline element. In my cycle of
lectures given at Leipzig, on “Christ and the Spiritual World,”
you will find the fuller description of its relation to the prophetic.
That Michelangelo included these things at all, in his series of pictures,
proves how closely he connected the earthly life with the supersensible
— the spiritual. See now the succession of the Sibyls; observe
how a real individual life is poured out into each one: in every detail,
each one brings to expression a quite specific visionary character of
41. The Cumean Sibyl.
42. The Delphic Sibyl.
42. The Delphic Sibyl. (Detail)
Observe the position of
the hand. It is no mere chance. Observe the look in her eyes, coming
forth out of an elemental life; you will divine many things which we
cannot express in words, for that would make the thing too abstract,
— but they lie hidden in the artistic treatment.
43. The Lybian Sibyl.
And now we come to the Prophets.
51. The Jacob Group.
These are examples of his
scenes from the Old Testament.
52. Jesse and Solomon Group.
53. Atlas Figures. (Over the Persian Sibyl and Daniel.)
Here we come to his later
period in Florence: to the Medicis and the Chapel at which he had to
work for the Medicis under conditions that I described before. I have
spoken of these tombs of Juliano and Lorenzo in a lecture which I believe
has also been printed.
54. Tomb of Lorenzo. (Medici Chapel. Florence.)
55. Day. (Detail from the Tomb of Lorenzo.)
56. Night. (Detail from the Tomb of Lorenzo.)
57. Tomb of Lorenzo. (The central figure.)
This is the second tomb,
with the figures of Morning and Evening.
58. Tomb of Giuliano. (Medici Chapel. Florence.)
59. Evening. (Detail from the Tomb of Giuliano.)
60. Morning. (Detail from the Tomb of Giuliano.)
61. Tomb of Lorenzo. (The central figure.)
62. Madonna. (San Lorenzo. Florence.)
63. The Last Judgment. (Sistena Chapel. Roma.)
Once again we accompany
Michelangelo to Rome, where he creates, once more by comman of the Pope,
the Last Judgment — the altar-piece for the Sistine Chapel. The
greatness of this piece lies in the characterisation, the universal
significance of the characters. Consider in this picture all that is
destined, as it were, for Heaven, all that is destined for Hell, and
Christ in the centre, as the cosmic Judge. You will see how Michelangelo
sought to harmonise this cosmic scene. Majestically as it was conceived,
with an individual and human feeling. Hermann Grimm drew the head of
Christ from the immediate vicinity, and it proved to be very similar
to the head of the Apollo of Belvedere. We will now show some of the
64. Figure of Christ. (Detail from the Last Judgment.)
65. Head of Christ. (Detail from the Last Judgment. Sistine Chapel.)
66. Head of Apollo Belvedere. (Rome, Vatican Greek sculpture))
67. The Barque of Charon. (Detail from the Last Judgment.)
and another detail, the
group above the boat:
68. Group of the Damned. (Sistine Chapel – Rome, Vatican.)
69. Design for the grave of 1513.. (Albertine. Vienna.)
And now, though in time
it belongs to a somewhat earlier period, we give what Michelangelo created
for the monument of Pope Julius; for, in fact, this was never finished,
and Michelangelo was working at it in the very latest period of his
life and finished portions of it.
70. Moses. (St. Peter in Chains. Rome.)
It is significant that Pope
Julius II, whose character undoubtedly contained a certain greatness,
called for this monument to be erected to his efforts. It was to have
included a whole series of figures, perhaps thirty in number. It was
never completed, but there remained this, the greatest figure in connection
with it — Michelangelo's famous figure of Moses, of which we have
often spoken, — and the two figures now following:
70a. The Dying Slave. (Louvre. Paris.)
70b. The Fettered Slave. (Louvre. Paris.)
70c. Pieta (burial). (Cathedral. Florence. )
This was completed in the
very latest period of his life. It is hard to say exhaustively how it
arose. One thing is certain: the group expresses an idea which Michelangelo
carried with him throughout his life. Whether there was another group
which has somehow been lost, in which he treated this scene at a very
early stage in his career, or whether it was the same block at which
he worked again, remodelling it at the end of his life, it is hard to
say. But we see it here as his last work. Not only is it the one which
he completed when he was a very old man; it corresponds to an artistic
idea which he carried throughout his long life, and is connected far
more deeply than one imagines with the fundamental feeling of his soul.
True, he could not have created it thus at every phase of his life.
It would always have turned out a little differently; it would always
have reproduced the basic mood of his soul in a somewhat different way.
But the deep and pure Christian feeling that lives in Michelangelo comes
to expression especially in this particular relationship of Christ to
the Mother, in this scene of the entombment. Again and again the idea
of the Mystery of Golgotha arises in the soul of Michelangelo in this
way: — He feels that with the Mystery of Golgotha a deed of Heavenly
Love took place, of an intensity that will hover for ever before the
eyes of man as a sublime ideal, but that can never be attained by man
even in the remotest degree, and must therefore inspire with a tragic
mood him who beholds these World-events.
And now imagine, with this
idea living in his soul, Michelangelo saw Rome becoming Jesuitical.
With this idea in his soul, he underwent all the feelings of which I
spoke; and whatever he saw in the world, he measured in relation to
this standard. Truly, he underwent much in his long life. While he was
creating his earliest artistic works in Florence, the Pope in Rome was
Alexander VI, the Borgia. Then he was summoned to Rome, and painted
the Creation of the World for Pope Julius. We see the dominion of the
Gorgias in Rome replaced by Pope Julius, and then by the Medici, Leo
X. In this connection we must realise that Pope Julius II, although
he worked with poison, murder, slander, etc., was none the less in earnest
about Christian Art. Pope Julius, who replaced the political Borgia
princes, strove for the Papal See in order to make it great through
spiritual life. Although he was a man of war, nevertheless, in his inmost
soul, even as a fighter, he only thought of himself as in the service
of spiritual Rome. Of Julius II we must not fail to realise that he
was a man of spiritual aims, thoroughly in earnest with all that lay
in his impulse to re-erect the Church of St. Peter, and, indeed, with
all that he achieved for Art. He was selflessly in earnest about these
things. It may sot strange to say this of a man who in carrying out
his plans made use of poison, murder and the like. Yet such was the
custom of the time in the circles with whose help he realised his plans.
His highest ideal, none the less, was that which he desired to bring
into the world through the great artists. For a spirit like Michelangelo
it is, indeed, profoundly tragical to feel how a perfect good can never
find its realisation in the world, but must always be realised one-sidedly.
Yet, this was not all, for he lived to witness the transition to the
commercial Popes, if we may call them so — those of the house
of Medici, who were, in truth, far more concerned with their own ambitions,
and were fundamentally different in spirit from Julius II and even from
the Borgias. Certainly, these were no better men. We must, however,
judge all these things in relation to the time itself. It is easy nowadays
to feel Pope Alexander VI, or his son Caesar Borgia, or Julius II, as
human atrocities; for today it is permitted to write of them quite
independently and freely, whereas many a later phenomenon cannot yet
be characterised with equal freedom: But we must also realise: —
The sublime works achieved at that time are not without causal
relationship with the characters
of all these Popes, — indeed, many things would certainly not
have come to pass if Savonarola or Luther had occupied the Papal See.
And now we come to Raphael.
71. Raphael. Portrait of himself. (Uffizi. Florence.)
72. Raphael and Perugino. Marriage of the Virgin. (Milan.).
Here is the picture of which
I spoke last time. We will bring it before our souls once more. On the
left we have the same subject treated by Perugino, and on the right
by Raphael. It is the Sposalizio or Marriage of the Virgin. Here you
can see how Raphael grew out of the School of his teacher, Perugino,
and you can recognise the great advance. At the same time, we see in
the picture on the left all that is characteristic of this School on
the level from which Raphael began. See the characteristic faces, their
healthily — as we today call it — sentimental expression.
See the peculiar postures of the feet. A certain characterisation is
attempted; yet it is all enclosed in a certain aura of which I spoke
before, — which appears again in Raphael, transfigured, as it
were, raised into a new form and power of composition. You recognise
here the growth of this power of composition, too. But if you compare
the details, you will find that in Raphael it is grasped more clearly
and yet at the same time it is more gentle, it is not so hard.
73. Raphael. Christ with the Stigmata. (Pinacotec. Brescia.)
74. Dream of a Knight. (National Gallery. London.)
This whole picture is to be
conceived of as a world of dream. It is generally known as the “Dream
of a Knight.”
75. St. George. (Eremitage. St. Petersburg.)
76. Madonna with the Jesus-Children. (Madonna Terranuove. Berlin. )
We will now let work upon
us a number of Raphael's pictures of the Madonna and of the sacred legend.
These — especially the Madonnas — are the works of Raphael
which first carried him out into the world.
77. Madonna Tempi. (Munich.)
78. Madonna in Green. (Vienna.)
79. Madonna of the Goldfinch. (Uffizi. Florence.)
In all these pictures you
still have the old, characteristic postures and attitudes which Raphael
took with him from his home country.
80. The Holy Family: Madonna Canigiani. (Munich.)
81. The Holy Family. (Prado. Madrid.)
82. La Belle Jardiniere. (Louvre. Paris.)
83. Madonna Alba. (Eremitage. St. Petersburg.)
These are the Madonnas which
bear witness to the further development of Raphael. Ile follow him now
into the time when he went to Rome. It is not known historically exactly
when that was. Probability is that he did not simply go there in a given
year, — 1500 is generally assumed — but that he had been
to Rome more than once and gone back again to Florence, and that from
1500 onward he worked in Rome continuously. Now, therefore, we follow
him to Rome and come to those pictures which he painted there for Pope
84. Disputa. (Vatican.)
This picture is well-known
to you all, and we, too, have spoken of it in former lectures. Many
preparatory sketches of it exist. In the form in which you see it here,
it was done to the order of the Pope, — the Pope who craved, as
I said just now, to make Rome spiritually great.
We must, however, hold
fast to one point, which is revealed by the fact that some elements
of the motif of this picture appear at a very early stage, even in Perugia,
representing this idea, this scene, or, rather, the motif of it.
84a. The Trinity. (Perugia, S. Severo.)
Thus the idea was already
living at that early stage, and was able to take shape in this remarkable
corner of East-Central Italy.
We must conceive the motif
of the picture as living in the very time itself. Below are the human
beings — theologians, for the most part. These theologians are
well aware that everything which human reason can discover is related
to what St. Thomas Aquinas called the “Praeambula Fidei,”
and must be permeated by what comes down from Spiritual Worlds as real
inspiration, wherein are mingled the attainments of the great Christian
and pre-Christian figures of history, and by means of which alone the
secret of the Trinity is to be understood. This mystery, we must conceive,
bursts down into the midst of the disputations of the theologians below.
We may conceive that this picture is painted out of the will to unite
the Christian life quite fundamentally with Rome — to make Rome
once more the center of Christianity by rebuilding the derelict Church
of St. Peter, according to the desires of Pope Julius. Under the influence
of the Pope, wishing to achieve a new greatness of Christianity centered
in Rome, such ideas are brought together with the fundamental concept;
the secret of the Trinity. This fact explains what I may call, perhaps,
the outer trimmings of the picture. (Even in the architectural elements
which it contains, we see designs which re-occur in St. Peter's.) It
is as though this picture were to proclaim: Now once again the secret
of the Trinity shall be taught to the whole world by Rome. There are
many preliminary sketches showing not only that Raphael only by and
by achieved the final composition, but that this whole way of thinking
about the inspiration, the Idea of the Trinity had been living in him
for a long time. It was certainly not the case that the Pope said:
“Paint me such and such a picture.” He rather said,
“Tell me of the idea that has been living in you for so
long,” and thus together, so to speak, they arrived at the
conception which we now see on the wall of the Segnatura.
85. The School of Athens. (Vatican. Rome.)
Now we come to the picture
which, as you know, is commonly named the School of Athens, chiefly
because the two central figures are supposed to be Plato and Aristotle.
The one thing certain is that they are not. I will not dwell on other
views that have been put forward. I have spoken of this picture, too,
on previous occasions. But they are certainly not Plato and Aristotle.
True, we may recognise in these figures many an ancient philosopher,
but that is not the point of the picture. The real point is, that in
contrast to what is called “Inspiration” Raphael also wished
to portray what man receives through his intelligence when he directs
it to the supersensible and applies it to investigate the causes of
things. The various attitudes which man can then assume are expressed
in the several figures. No doubt Raphael introduced the traditional
figures of ancient philosophers, as, indeed, he always tried to make
use of this or that tradition. But that is not his real point; the point
was to contrast the supersensible Inspiration, the descent of the
super-sensible as an inspiration to man, on the one hand; and on the other
hand the attainment of a knowledge of the world of causes through the
intelligence of man directed to the Supersensible. In this sense, the
two central figures are to be understood as follows: On the one hand
we have a man still in the younger years of life, a man with less
of life, who speaks more as a man who looks around him on the Earth,
there to perceive the causes of things. Beside him is the old, old.
man who has assimilated very much in life, and knows how to apply what
he has seen on Earth to heavenly things. And then there are the other
figures who, partly by meditation, partly by arithmetical, geometrical
or other exercises, or by the study and interpretation of the Gospels
and the sacred writings, seek to discover the causes of things by applying
their human intellect. I have already spoken of these things and I believe
that Lecture, too, has been made accessible. I think if we take the
contrast of the two pictures in this way, we shall not be misled into
nonsensical speculations as to whether this one is Pythagoras or the
other Plato or Aristotle — which speculations are at all events
beside the mark and inartistic. Much ingenuity has been applied in
deciphering the several figures: Nothing could be more superfluous in
relation to these pictures. Rather should we study to observe the
wonderful varieties expressed in the search for all that is attainable
by the intelligence of man.
You may also compare the
two pictures. In this present picture the whole thing is placed in an
architectural setting, whereas in the other, the “Disputa,”
the wide World is the setting. It is the difference between Inspiration
whose house is the great universal edifice and the quest of the human
intelligence which, as you see it here, goes on in an enclosed and human
86. The Three Virtues. (Vatican. Rome.)
We come to what is attainable
in the human sphere, without the latter being influenced out of the
87. Theologia. (Vatican.)
This is like a commentary
to the Disputa — the knowledge of the Divine Mysteries represented
in a more allegorical figure, and leading on to the Disputa.
88. Justice. (Vatican. Rome.)
89. Madonna da Fogligno. (Rome.)
90. Flight of Heliodorus. (Vatican. Rome.)
Here we have a picture taken
from the whole complex which Raphael did for Pope Julius II in order
to inspire the idea that Christianity must gain the victory and all
that resists it must be overcome.
91. Flight of Attila. (Vatican. Rome.)
This is only another aspect
of the same idea.
92. The Liberation of St. Peter. (Vatican. Rome.)
Also belonging to the same
93. The Sibyls. (Ste. Maria della Pace. Rome.)
Raphael's Sibyls. If you
remember those of Michelangelo, you will observe the immense difference.
In the Sibyls of Raphael — I beg you to see it for yourselves
— human figures are portrayed, to represent beings standing within
the cosmos, — Beings into whom the whole cosmos is working. They
themselves are dreaming, as it were, within the cosmos as a very part
of it and have not fully come to consciousness. The various supersensible
Beings, angelic figures between them, bring them the secrets of the
worlds. Thus they are dreamy Beings, living within the universal nexus.
Michelangelo, on the other hand, portrays the human and individual in all
that his Sibyls are dreaming, or evolving out of their
Michelangelo has to create out of the individual, nay, we may even say,
the personal character of each one. These Sibyls of Raphael, on the other
hand, live and move and have their being over and above the individual.
Even inasmuch as they are individual, they live and move in a cosmic
94. The Conversion of St. Paul - Tapestry. (Rome, Vatican.)
95. The Holy Family: Madonna under the oak. (Prado. Madrid.)
96. Sistine Madonna. (Dresden.)
97. The Holy Family. (Louvre. Paris.)
In this room we have the
picture of the Transfiguration. (No picture of room available)
99. The Transfiguration. (Vatican.)
Here is the picture itself.
It is even possible that Raphael himself did not complete it, but left
it unfinished at his death. Christ is soaring heavenward.
To those who say that Raphael
in his latest period painted visionary pictures, we need only reply
by pointing to this figure (the figure of the boy). It is portrayed
in a perfectly real, Occultly realistic sense, how the figure makes
it possible for the scene to become visible to the others. Through what
I would call the mediumistic nature of the unconsciousness of madness,
this figure influences the others, enabling them to behold such a thing
100. Figure of Christ. (Detail of the above.)
Here we have the figure
of the Christ.
And now, my dear friends,
think of all that Raphael had painted. All that has passed before you
was contained between his twenty-first and his thirty-seventh year,
in which he died. In his twenty-first year he painted the first picture
which we showed — the Marriage of the Virgin — contrasting
it with Perugino's painting. Hermann Grimm worked out in a beautiful
way something that bears eloquent witness to Raphael's free and independent
evolution, proving even outwardly to some extent what I just said before.
Raphael, although he was carried on the waves of time, and learnt, of
course, very much from the world, nevertheless took with him into Rome
the peculiar nature of that Middle-Eastern part of Italy. In spite of
his youth, he created out of his own inmost nature and progressed
with perfect regularity in his evolution. Hermann Grimm pointed out
that we come to the chief culminating points in Raphael's creative work
if, starting from his twenty-first year, we go forward in successive
periods of four years. From his twenty-first year we have his Sposalizio;
four years later the Entombment, which we have not shown today —
an exceedingly characteristic picture, which, especially when we take
into account the related sketches and everything connected with it,
expresses a certain climax in the work of Raphael. And then, once more,
four years later, we have a climax of creative work in the Camera della
Segnatura in the Vatican. Progressing thus by stages of four years,
we see how Raphael undergoes his evolution. He stands there in the world
with absolute individuality, obeying an impulse connected only with
his incarnation, which impulse he steadily unfolds and places into the
world something that takes its course with perfect regularity, like
the evolution of mankind.
And now consider these three
figures all together, — standing out as a summit in the life of
Art, in the evolution of mankind. It lies in the deep tragedy of human
evolution that this supreme attainment is connected with a succession
of Popes — Alexander VI, Borgia, Julius II, Leo X, — men
who occupy the first position as regards their artistic aims and who
were called upon to play their part in human evolution as rulers in
high places. And yet they were of such a character as to take with them
into these high places the worst extremes which even that age could
nroduce by way of murder, misrepresentation, cruelty and poison. And
yet, undoubtedly — down to the Medici, who always retained their
mercantile spirit, — they were sincere and in earnest where Art
was concerned. Julius II was an extraordinary man, inclined to every
kind of cruelty, never scrupling to use misrepresentation and even poison
as though it were, in a world-historic sense, the best of homely remedies.
Yet it was rightly said of this man that he never made a promise that
he did not keep. And to the artists, above all, he kept his promise
to a high degree; nor did he ever bind or fetter them, so long as they
were able to render him the services which he desired, in the work which
Consider, alongside of this
succession of Popes, the great men who created these works — the
three great characters who have passed before our souls today. Think
how in the one, in Leonardo, there lived much that has not yet been
developed further, even today. Think how there lived in Michelangelo
the whole great tragedy of his own time, and of his fatherland, both
in the narrower and in the wider sense. Think how there lived in Raphael
the power to transcend his Age. For while he was most intensely receptive
to all the world around that carried him as on the waves of time,
he was a self-contained nature. Consider, moreover, how neither Leonardo
nor Michelangelo could carry into their time that which could work upon
it fully. Michelangelo wrestled to bring forth, to express out of the
human individuality itself all that was contained in his time; and yet,
after all, he never created anything which the age was fully able to
receive. Still less could Leonardo do so, for Leonardo bore within his
soul far greater things than his Age could realise. And as to Raphael
— he unfolded a human nature which remained for ever young. He
was predestined, as it were, by providential guidance to evolve such
youthfulness with an intensity which could never grow old. For, in effect,
the time itself, into which all that came forth from his inner impulses
was born, first had to grow young. Only now there comes the time when
men will begin to understand less and less of Raphael. For the time
has grown older than that which Raphael could give to it.
In conclusion, we will show
a few of Raphael's portraits.
101. Pope Julius II. (Uffizi. Florence.)
102. Pope Leo X.
These, then, are the two
Popes who were his patrons.
103. Donna Veleta. (Pitti. Florence.)
104. Balthasar Castiglione. (Louvre. Paris.)
We have come to the end
of our pictures.
In the near future, following
on the tree great masters of the Renaissance, we shall speak of Holbein,
Durer, and the other masters — the parallel phenomena of these
developments in Southern Europe.
Today I wanted especially
to bring before our souls these three masters of the Renaissance. I
have tried to describe a little of what was living in them, and of their
stimulus if, starting from any point of their work, you dwell on the
historic factors which influenced and entered into them. You will perceive
the necessary tragedy of human history, which has to live itself out in
one-sidedness. We can learn much for our judgment of all historic
things, if we study how the world-historic process played into that
Florentine Age whose greatness is identified with Raphael, Michelangelo
and Leonardo. Today especially I fancy no one will regret the time he
spends in dwelling on a historic moment like the year 1505, when
Leonardo and Raphael were at the same time in Florence — Raphael
still as a younger man, learning from the others; and the other two
vying with one another, painting battle-pieces, glorifying the deeds
that belonged to political history. Especially at the present moment,
anyone who has vision for the facts of history in all its domains, and
sees the significance of outward political events for the spiritual
life, will profit greatly by the study of that time. Consider what was
working then: — how the artistic life sought and found its place
in the midst of the outer events, and how through these artistic and
external events of the time, the greatest impulses of human evolution
found their way. See how intimately there were interwoven human brutality
and high-mindedness, human tyranny and striving towards freedom. If
you let these things work upon you from whatever aspect, you will not
regret the loss of time, for you will learn a great deal even for your
judgment of this present moment. Above all, you will have cause to rid
yourself of the belief that the greatest words necessarily signify that
the greatest ideas are behind them, or that those who in our days are
speaking most of freedom have any understanding at all of what freedom
is. In other directions, too, much can be gained for the sharpening
of our judgment in this present time, by studying the events which took
place in Florence at the beginning of the 16th century, while under
the immediate impression of Savonarola who had just been put to death.
We see that Florence in the midst of Italy, at a time when Christianity
had assumed a form whereby it slid over on the one hand into the realm of
Art, while on the other hand the moral feelings of mankind made vigorous
protest against it, was a form fundamentally different from that
of Jesuitism which found its way into the political and religious stream
immediately afterwards, and played so great a part in the politics of
the succeeding centuries down to our day.
Of course, it is not proper
at this moment to say any more about these things. Perhaps, however,
some of you will guess for yourselves, if you dwell upon the chapter
of human evolution whose artistic expression we have today let work