St. Paul Preaching at Athens (Raphael)
Movement High Renaissance
Medium Cartoon, gouache on paper
Dimensions 11’3″ x 14’6″
Housed at Victoria & Albert Museum, London
This work was commissioned by Pope Leo X as a part of ten tapestries that showcase the Acts of the Apostles for the Sistine chapel, essentially placing Raphael in direct competition with Michelangelo. Raphael portrays St. Paul as a powerful and commanding figure, as evidenced not only by his gestures, but in the reactions of the audience to which he is preaching. Raphael was clearly influenced by Bramante when composing the architecture – note the similarities of the surrounding structures to the Tempietto; instead of including expansive backgrounds as in his other works (that may have been distracting here), Raphael keeps the focus clearly upon the subject matter in the foreground.