Another of the Bible scenes which Raphael painted was one which is told in the New Testament concerning the Lord Jesus and his Apostles. Some of these, as Peter and Andrew, James and John, were fishermen who lived near the lake of Gennesaret in Galilee, and had spent most of their lives in their boats. They had been much with their Master, and sometimes left their boats to go with him through the country, when he talked with them and healed the sick, and told the glad tidings, for that is what the word Gospel means. One day he had been using Simon Peter's boat as a sort of pulpit from which to speak to the people on the shore.

"Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, 'Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught,' And Simon answering said unto him, 'Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.' And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

"When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus's knees, saying, 'Depart from me: for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken; and so was also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, 'Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men.'"[2]

[2] Luke, chapter v., verses 4-10.

In the picture we see the two boats laden with fish, one containing Jesus with Peter and Andrew, and the other containing the partners hauling in the net. The lake stretches away in the distance until it seems to meet the sky in a line of light at the horizon. On the opposite shore are the people to whom Jesus was speaking before the fishermen launched out. Others on the bank are watching to get some of the fish which are not hauled in. There is a boat over there just pushing off. Fishhawks hover overhead, and on the nearer shore are herons.

Just as before in the Madonna of the Chair we saw how all the lines in the picture were drawn as it were in a circle, so here it is the long horizontal line on which the picture is built: the boats extending across the foreground, the distant shore, and the horizon line swelling into the upland. Some one has said that the boats are so placed that it looks as if the figures were slowly passing before the eye of the spectator.

THE MIRACULOUS DRAUGHT OF FISHES South Kensington Museum, London 
South Kensington Museum, London

Now this picture is not, like so many, painted on canvas or on wood. Raphael was bidden to make designs for some great hangings or tapestries for the chapel in the Vatican palace known as the Sistine Chapel. He made his drawings, cartoons they are called, on a coarse kind of paper, the pieces put together on a great frame, and these cartoons were sent to Arras in Flanders, where they were copied in tapestry by skillful artists.

Raphael intended to represent scenes in the lives of the Apostles, and his series was in two groups of five each, the first centring about the life of St. Peter, the second about the life of St. Paul. The tapestries are in the Vatican palace, but seven of the cartoons are in the South Kensington Museum in London. There they are kept with great care, but they have led a perilous life. When they were sent to Arras, they were cut in strips for the convenience of the weavers, and pricked with holes. Then after they had been copied in the tapestries, they were thrown aside, as so much waste paper, and lay in a cellar, neglected, for a hundred years. Fortunately they were not destroyed, and the fragments were found in 1630, by the great Flemish painter Rubens, who knew their value. He advised King Charles I. of England to buy them, and they were still regarded as patterns for tapestries. The king set up a manufactory at Mortlake, and some tapestries were made from these cartoons.

When the king was put to death, Cromwell bought the cartoons, and put them away in some boxes at Whitehall. When Charles II. came to the throne, he tried to sell them to France, but was stopped, and finally they found a home at Hampton Court Palace. A few years ago they were removed to their present place of keeping.

The original tapestries, as we have said, were designed for the Sistine Chapel, but they were long ago removed from that place and are now preserved in the Gallery of Tapestries in the Vatican.

The colors of the tapestries have faded, but color never formed the chief attraction of these compositions. What one always admired, and can still admire in engravings and other copies, is what we call the dramatic character of the picture, the way in which the painter has so arranged his figures as to make them tell a story in a lively, graphic fashion.

He can also, as his eye is more and more trained, discover the beauty which lies in the drawing of forms, in masses and in lines. For an engraving or a pencil drawing in black and white can give a great deal of pleasure, and some painters make better pictures with pen and ink than they can with a paint-box and brushes.