Galatea (Raphael)

Galatea (Raphael)

Artist Raphael

Date 1515-16

Movement High Renaissance

Medium Cartoon, gouache on paper

Dimensions 9’8″ x 7’4″

Housed at Victoria & Albert Museum, London


Commissioned by a wealthy Sienese banker, Agostino Chigi, to adorn his Roman villa. Chigi was obsessed with antiquity and wished to fill his villa with ancient stories of love and romance; here, the giant Polyphemus pursued Galatea. Some scholars have likened this work to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus; while the works share a similar setting, the figures couldn’t be more dissimilar – here, they display a great amount of energy and their anatomies are muscular in the Hellenistic style, while the figures in the Birth of Venus are slender and graceful, in the Classical style.