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January 23 , 2011

The Exoteric Meaning in Raphael's Paintings

The Philosophy of Composition in The Disputa, The School of Athens, The Transfiguration


The seed of this book was planted in 1941, when Giorgio Spadaro first visited the Vatican Museums with his cousin, the painter Beppe Assenza. A second visit and further conversations in 1945 watered the seed, which germinated and grew over more than half a century. Now it has flowered, in the light of Rudolf Steiners Anthroposophy, into this profound and accessible meditation on the spiritual significance of three of Raphaels greatest paintings: The School of Athens (shown left), The Disputation (below), and The Transfiguration. By working attentively, patiently, and carefully through its composition and the geometry it embodies, Spadaros meditation reveals a prophetic Raphael whose paintings have much to teach us about the evolution of consciousness, the role of Christ and Christianity in human evolution, and the path of individual inner development. Spadaro shows how Raphaels paintings depict, with precision and in detail, the spiritual, cosmic, and physical situation of humanity, through which it must grow to fulfillment.Reading his descriptions and following them in the paintings brings to life a spiritual reality all too often ignored or denied by art historians. At the same time, through his deep understanding of the paintings spiritual content, he is able to identify, in a meaningful way, the figures depicted and their significance. Here is a valuable addition to the growing body of literature on the profound spiritual meaning contained in Rafael's paintings.
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