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Estelle M. Hurll

In the same room which holds Parnassus, with Poetry above on the ceiling, there is another wall painting by Raphael, which commonly bears the name of The School of Athens, though that name was not originally applied to it. In the ceiling above is a figure representing Philosophy, and the picture below carries out the idea in its presentation of an assembly of scholars.

In the series of rooms in the Vatican palace, of which one contains Parnassus, and another the Expulsion of Heliodorus and the Liberation of Peter, there is a room, the first of the series, which is called the Room of the Great Fire, because it contains a large picture of the Conflagration in the Borgo.

There are many legends about St. Michael, who is also represented as the Archangel, or head of the whole company of angels, and most of these legends spring from a few passages in the Bible, chiefly two. One of these is in the Epistle of Jude, the ninth verse, where the archangel Michael is alluded to as "contending with the Devil." The other is in the Book of Revelation, beginning at the seventh verse of the ninth chapter:—

As we turn to the picture, famous the world over as the Sistine Madonna, we seem to be looking through a window opening into heaven. Faint in the background, yet filling the whole space, is a cloud of innumerable cherubs; out of this cloud, and enveloped by it, appear the Mother and Child.

by Estelle M. Hurll

We have been looking at fifteen pictures designed by Raphael. They are but a few of the great number painted either wholly or in part by the master, or painted by his pupils from designs and sketches made by him. He was thirty-seven years old when he died, and it was said that he died on his birthday. His life was brimful of activity as a painter.

In early days an Italian in addressing a lady used the word Madonna, which, like the French word Madame, means My Lady. Now he says Signora; Madonna would have to him an old-fashioned sound. To the rest of the world this word Madonna has come to be applied almost wholly to the Virgin Mary, with or without the child Jesus; and as Raphael painted a great many pictures of the Madonna for churches or other sacred places, a name has been given to each, drawn usually from some circumstance about it.

No one of the old Italian masters has taken such a firm hold upon the popular imagination as Raphael. Other artists wax and wane in public favor as they are praised by one generation of critics or disparaged by the next; but Raphael's name continues to stand in public estimation as that of the favorite painter in Christendom. The passing centuries do not dim his fame, though he is subjected to severe criticism; and he continues, as he began, the first love of the people.

In the story of Abraham, as related in our Bible, we read of the wandering and adventurous life of the patriarch as he moved from place to place. In process of time he became "very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold." He was as brave as he was industrious. When Lot, his brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, was taken captive by some foreign kings who had conquered the king of Sodom, Abraham armed his large company of servants and went to the rescue. He recovered not only his nephew, but all the booty which the victors had taken.

Within the last forty years the methods of criticism as applied to art have undergone so many changes that there has been a rapid succession of biographers and critics of Raphael until the student reader of to-day scarcely knows whom to believe. The time was when Vasari, in his important "Lives of the Painters," was the accepted source of information, and all current writers borrowed unquestioningly from him both facts and opinions; but the old chronicler was too often influenced by popular gossip and personal prejudice to be depended upon.

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