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Papers relating to Prince Albert’s personal life and enthusiasms

Professor Rudolf Hofmann

Letter from Rudolf Hofmann to Charles Ruland concerning works attributed to Raphael in the Grand-Ducal collection in Darmstadt. 18 Jan 1861

Loose manuscript paper; mounted | 1 document (4 pages) (whole object) | RA VIC/ADDA10/85/475

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Hofmann writes that he is sending [Ruland] the details about the Raphael works which they discussed recently. Among the several drawings in the Grand-ducal collection attributed to Raphael, one deserves the most attention. It is related to the cycle of supporting pictures woven in gold tones in the Tapestries, in the border beneath the main biblical scenes, some of which show events from the life of Pope Leo X. The Darmstadt drawing shows Leo's return to Florence, his native city, after his 18-year absence as Cardinal Giovanni dei Medici and as Papal Legate. He is being greeted by the goddess of the city, while the river gods of the Arno and the Tiber recline on either side. This scene is under the Stoning of Stephen in the Vatican tapestries, and appears in Pietro Santi Bartoli's engravings, on sheets 13 and 14. According to Passavant there are three similar designs for the scene, one in the Archduke Karl's collection in Vienna (of which there are lithographs in Bartsch), another belonging to the Lawrence estate in London and a third in the Paris collection (shown in outline in Landon's Life of Raphael, Vol II p. 139). Of these, Passavant considers the last to be an original, but by [Gian]Francesco Penni, to whom he thinks all the drawings for these scenes can probably be attributed. Hofmann comments, however, that there are several reasons to dispute this, in particular Raphael's personal relationship with Leo X. Hofmann goes on to say that Passavant seems not to know of the Darmstadt example, or else he would have mentioned it at least as a copy. It is undeniably superior to the Vienna drawing, at any rate to judge by the facsimile of that, and deserves careful comparison with the others, which can now be done so easily with the help of photography. The armed Archangel in the Darmstadt paintings collection, which is catalogued as by Raphael, corresponds to a picture by Perugino in Perugia, either in the Cambio or in another public building. The other archangels also appear in it and Director [Veit] in Mainz has painted a very meticulous study of one of them which Hofmann saw recently at Veit's house. He has not been to Perugia, but he saw, in the collection of the late Professor M. Wagner in Rome, an engraving after these archangels, although it was not very good and of a later date. In the same collection he saw a drawing which seemed related to the Madonna of Foligno, and which the Professor, who was a discriminating connoisseur, attributed to Raphael. Wagner had bought it in Rome, where he spent more than 50 years, and had it hanging in his bedroom at Villa Malta. When Hofmann asked whether King Ludwig, to whom Wagner was always very close, had seen it, he said no, and Hofmann deduced from his sly smile that he had no wish to show it to the King. He left his collection to his home town, Würzburg. It is assumed because of its subject matter and place in the collection that the letter is to Charles Ruland, although Hofmann gives the addressee the honorific title of 'Hofrath' rather than naming him.
  • Creator(s)

    Professor Rudolf Hofmann (writer)

    Carl Ruland (1834-1907) (addressee)

  • 1 document (4 pages) (whole object)

  • Object type(s)
      • printed & manuscript material
        • documents
          • correspondence
  • Place of Production
    Darmstadt [Germany]