Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Bernard of Perugino

Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Bernard of Perugino
Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Bernard of Perugino
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The Italian artist Pietro Perugino (1446 – 1523) always appears in treatises on the History of Art for a reason. For having been the teacher of the great Rafael Sanzio, who began working as an apprentice in his workshop in the city of Peruggia.

Apparition of the Virgin to San Bernardo del Perugino

Apparition of the Virgin to San Bernardo del Perugino

Nevertheless, Perugino was an artist of great stature, although evidently overshadowed by his contemporary giants, since he coincided in time not only with his student Rafael, but also with talents like Leonardo, Michelangelo and Titian. But the truth is that Perugino was a painter of recognized talent and that is why he did not lack commissions throughout his life, hence he will have a workshop of apprentices and collaborators who will help him carry out those commissions.

Above all his artistic capacity was highly valued for the representation of religious scenes, for which his soft and devout way of painting was highly appreciated, with which he knew how to capture typical issues ofpainting Renaissance as were the representation of depth and composition dominated by harmony.

At the same time he had assimilated techniques such as sfumato from the great works ofLeonardo da Vinci, such as the Gioconda. And he knew how to present his characters withroundness but without a rigid appearance.

A good example is this titular painting that presents us with the Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Bernard. It is an extremely simple composition, in which the theme of the painting is that the saint simply raises his head from his book and suddenly discovers the presence of the Virgin Mary before him. Everything in the frame is based on geometry and symmetry, and yet all that compositional structure does not provide a feeling of rigidity. On the contrary, this composition mainly seeks harmony in the scene, but is capable of giving each character their space.

However, this achievement was achieved at the cost of sacrificing the faithful reproduction of nature as sought by the precepts of Renaissance art. For example, if you look at his angels, you can see that they all respond to a stereotype that the artist repeats with few variations. In fact,Peruginocreated a model of beauty for this type of character that he not only repeated in this work, but in many other outputs from his workshop.

If we assess the high number of his works as a whole, it can be called repetitive and that is when the work of an entire workshop that had to carry out many, many works is appreciated. However, it must be borne in mind that Perugino's works were created for specific locations in different churches and did not have to be seen side by side, and furthermore, his style was very liked by those who commissioned him. Therefore it is not objectionable.absolutely. And besides, it will always be necessary to appreciate that Rafael's time in a workshop as productive as this one was tremendously important for his later artistic career.

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