ORLEY, Bernaert van
(b. 1491/92, Bruxelles, d. 1542, Bruxelles)

Romulus Gives Laws to the Roman People

Pen and wash, 345 x 545 mm
Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich

Van Orley's Romulus Gives Laws to the Roman People, one of four signed and dated drawings for an unrealized or lost tapestry series on the early history of Rome, reflects Raphael's influence. Enthroned in a classicizing loggia, rendered in correct perspective, Romulus dispenses sealed documents to the two elderly dramatic men in the foreground. Like Raphael, Van Orley stressed their cast shadows and clear physical placements. Others look with great interest or talk animatedly. Their clothing is the sort of pseudo-antique attire that Gossaert and others favoured. Raphael and now Van Orley designed their tapestries much like large-scale paintings.