In Leon Battista Alberti’s treatise On Painting, Alberti analyzed the naturalistic study of painting and what core elements will make the painting a pleasure to create as well as visualized by the viewer. These key principles are circumscription, composition, and reception of light. As evidenced in Raphael’s Entombment, he was influenced by and utilized Alberti’s elements in his painting.
Alberti used a mathematics and geometry to take an image and place in a grid to recreate the image from the viewer’s point of perspective in order to show a figure in multiple angles, defining circumscription. In Rafael’s painting, it looks like each figure was created using separate grid patterns to create the outline for each individual while granting each with different angles for their body to be shown. The image of Christ at his angle shows the front of his body as well as the side of his head, side, arms, and legs. The men carrying Christ to the entombment cave are shown in perspectives that show more dimensions to the figure as well. Three ways the face is formed is shown with St. John looking down, Nicodemus head tilted away from Christ, and Mary Magdalene lunging towards Christ. With Mary fainting, one Mary is looking towards the scene, another is comforting Mary, while the third is twisted in a serpentine formation in order to brace Mary. This process was to help create depth and realism to the figure in a naturalistic way that would allow the viewer to relate to the piece.
Raphael’s understanding of Alberti’s description of composition, creating a harmonious balance of how the forms where placed, is displayed in this painting as well. The figures form a V-formation in angles and are proportionate in size with one another. The way the figures have been rendered gives the impression they were painted with regards to their body with the...