(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

Mercury Brings Psyche up to Olympus

Villa Farnesina, Rome

Raphael's pictorial narrative in the Loggia di Psiche begins in the spandrels of the short side on the left as one enters and continues along the spandrels to the right to the second short side and then along the entrance side. These triangular surfaces represented a problematic format for artists. Raphael solved this challenge in ever new and surprising ways, causing the form of the painting's support and the composition of its figures to interact in particularly fortuitous and varied manners.

In the final spandrel Mercury is permitted to bring Psyche up to Olympus. Like a flower opening, this group of figures rises out of the constricted lower part of the field and into the freely expanding space. The upward arch of the surface and the subject matter of the scene fuse into a harmonious unity.

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