Raffael und Rubens im Wettstreit?

Zum vergleichenden Sehen als künstlerischer Strategie am Beispiel von Kopien nach Raffaels 'Transfiguration' und Rubens’ 'Himmelfahrt Mariä' aus der Hand Pier Lorenzo Spoletis (1682–1729) in Finale Ligure

  • Isabell Franconi (Autor/in)


Comparisons serve individuals to situate themselves in society, but they are as well a complex intellectual and learnable heuristic for gaining knowledge. With regard to works of art, the visual comparison can be traced back to antiquity, initially as the staging of an artistic competition in the sense of the agón or paragone (inherent to which is the Italian verb „paragonare“, meaning „to compare“). A particularly impressive example for comparative viewing can be found in the sanctuary of the church of San Biagio in Finale Ligure. There we fnd copies after Raphael’s Transfguration and Rubens’ Assumption of the Virgin Mary from the hand of the now forgotten painter Pier Lorenzo Spoleti (1682–1729), whose own pictorial inventions were – according to his biographer Carlo Giuseppe Ratti – „not very elegant“ in terms of composition. He was, however, all the more outstanding as a copyist. The detailed analysis of the paintings and the preserved written sources reveals that Spoleti recognised and took advantage of the opportunity ofered by the visà-vis position of the paintings for a comparative juxtaposition. Therefore, he deliberately modifed his copies, which, according to the hypothesis of this article, allowed the initially not very obvious similarities between the two originals to be revealed, and this enabled Spoleti to arrange or stage a paragone between Raphael and Rubens, between the High Renaissance and the Baroque.