- Portrait of Pope Julius II is an oil painting of 1511–12 by the Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael. The portrait of Pope Julius II was unusual for its time and would carry a long influence on papal portraiture.
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Portrait of Pope Julius II is an oil painting of 1511–12 by the Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael. The portrait of Pope Julius II was unusual for its time and would carry a long influence on papal portraiture. From early in its life, it was specially hung at the pillars of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, on the main route from the north into Rome, on feast and high holy days.
Julius was a great patron of the arts, commissioning Raphael to decorate the papal apartments in the Vatican and ordering the rebuilding of St Peter’s in Rome. The two golden acorns on the Pope’s chair allude to his family name, della Rovere (rovere is Italian for oak). The portrait was displayed on 12 December 1513, after Julius’s death, in the Roman church of Santa Maria del Popolo.
The portrait shows Giuliano della Rovere, Pope Julius II, elected in 1503 after one of the shortest conclaves ever (he bribed everyone). He was a lover of war, who led his own armies; and a lover of art, commissioning some of the greatest works in western history: Raphael's decorated rooms in the Vatican and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling.
- High Renaissance
- Borghese Collection
The portrait of Pope Julius II was bizarre for its time and would carry a long impact on papal portraiture. From early in its life, it was uncommonly hung at the pillars of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, on the main route from the north into Rome, on feast and high holy days. Giorgio Vasari, composing long after Julius’ passing, said that “it was so lifelike and true it frightened everybody who saw it, as if it were the living man himself”. The portray exists in numerous adaptations and duplicates, and for many years, a version of the painting which presently hangs within the Uffizi Gallery in Florence was accepted to be the original or prime adaptation, but in 1970 opinion shifted. The initial is as of now accepted to be the version found in the National Exhibition, London. It was then purchased in 1608 by Cardinal Borghese, together with another sixty-nine artworks. The provenance of the copy is unknown: despite the fact that it was mentioned by Friedrich Ramdhor in 1787, i...
This is one of eleven copies of this painting.Portrayed in three-quarters profile to the right, seated in an armchair, the pope is wearing a mozzetta over his cassock and he has a velvet cap. Previous Papal representations showed them frontally, or kneeling in profile. It was too “extraordinary” at this period to show the sitter so evidently in a specific mood – here lost in thought. The portray can be dated to between June 1511 and March 1512, when Julius let his beard grow as a sign of mourning for the loss in war of the city of Bologna.Raphael had also included fresco portraits of the bearded Julius, representing prior popes, within the Raphael Rooms of the Vatican Palace, in the Mass at Bolsena, with portraits of his daughter Felice della Rovere and Raphael himself within the same group, and in the portray representing Jurisprudence round a window in the Stanza della Segnatura, as well as in the Sistine Madonna.
Julius II commissioned from Raphael this portray and Madonna of Loreto which resided at Santa Maria del Popolo, at the entrance gate to Rome.Upon the portrait’s completion, it was displayed within the church for eight days, where many people came to see it. The two artworks, about the same size, appear as if they were meant to complement each other. Aside from their dimensions, they also both had a strong vertical orientation. The eyes of the works of art were unhappy and gave a contemplative feeling. The positioning and lighting within the canvases appears to demonstrate that they were implied to each flank an altar in the domed chapel. In spite of the fact that the depictions were paired for a time, through change of ownership the “Madonna of Loreto” is presently located in the Musée Condé, Chantilly.
The paintings were still recorded as part of the Borghese collection in 1693, as a small inventory number 118 at the bottom left of the London Julius shows. The revelation of this number, hidden by over-paint, in x-ray photographs in 1969 was one of the key pieces of prove establishing the primacy of the London version.It matches a catalogue of works of art in the Palazzo Borghese in Rome in 1693.
The portrait of Julius II is striking in both technical and psychological perfection. Oil paints at that time were a relatively new technique for Italy, but Rafael was able to masterfully convey the difference in textures with their help - it is enough to compare the thin silk of the sleeve with the denser material of the folds located below.
The portrait of Pope Julius II by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael, dates between June 1511 and March 1512. Commissioned by Julius II, Raphael's oil paintingwould become one of inspiration and admiration - influencing the future of papal portraiture.
The Portrait of Pope Julius II was created in 1511-1512 by Raphael. Pope Julius II was a popular painting subject for this artist as well as his students. Raphael actually painted several different portraits of the Pope, which are found all over the world today. All of them are different from one another, which makes each of them unique. The way this portrait was presented was different from most others during that time period.
Raphael, Portrait of Pope Julius II, 1511, oil on poplar, 108.7 x 81 cm (National Gallery, London) Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker. Cite this page as: Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, "Raphael, Portrait of Pope Julius II," in Smarthistory, November 18, 2015, accessed May 7, 2021, https://smarthistory.org/raphael-portrait-of-pope-julius-ii/.
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