My website, MyGiorgione, now includes my interpretations of Giorgione's "Tempest" as "The Rest on the Flight into Egypt"; his "Three Ages of Man" as "The Encounter of Jesus with the Rich Young Man"; Titian's, "Sacred and Profane Love" as "The Conversion of Mary Magdalen"; and Titian's "Pastoral Concert" as his "Homage to Giorgione".

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Renaissance Mysteries: Raphael's "Vision of Ezekiel"?

Although most of my work has centered around Giorgione, Titian and the Venetian Renaissance, my acquaintance with Hasan Niyazi and his popular Art history blog, Three Pipe Problem, led me to consider and re-interpret a painting usually attributed to  Raphael. Hasan, who died tragically and unexpectedly last week at the age of 37, was a great fan of Raphael. Actually, he was much more than a fan. Besides his work at 3PP, he was in the process of creating a complete Raphael database.

On June 6, 2011 Hasan posted an account, "Raphael's Vision and an Italian Storm," of a controversy in Italian art history circles concerning "The Vision of Exekiel," a painting usually attributed to Raphael or to one of his circle. On reading his account I was surprised to see that despite the controversy, no one questioned the subject or title of the painting. It seemed to me that rather than the vision of Ezekiel, the subject of the painting was a vision of John from the Book of Revelation.

I prepared a little essay and sent it off to Hasan and he agreed to post it as a follow up on his site. It appeared on June 10, 2011 as "Re-examining the Vision of Ezekiel." Understanding the real subject of the painting also shed light on its connection with a Madonna and Child with John the Baptist and Saint Elizabeth attributed to Giulio Romano. Although separated today, the paintings seem to have been originally conceived as a pair. The meeting of the infant Jesus with John the Baptist in the desert marks the beginning of the public life of Jesus. The vision of John on the isle of Paphos marks the climax of the life of Christ.

To me this fruitful interaction is one of the great advantages to online discussion of art history. Use the links above to read the two posts and decide if the painting should now be called "The Vision of St. John on the Isle of Patmos."



  1. Frank,

    I read both articles and found the argument for re-titling persuasive. I don't have much to contribute to the debate, but I wondered what Kleinbub' says about the "Ezekiel" I don't have Kleinbub's book anymore, though I did a review on AHT.

    Regards- David

    1. David:

      Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you can accept the new title but I doubt if the Pitti will change it in my lifetime. I will try to contact Dr. Kleinbub and see if he has an opinion.