Aleksandra Bzdzikot




How Perugino the master of Raphael inspired my artwork?

Have you ever left your home place to take up a job abroad or move to a different city? Some of you did, including myself. I remember quite well when I moved to Switzerland, over three years ago, that the rented apartment was empty, to my big surprise. No bed, no table, even no chandeliers! Virtually nothing.

Before the delivery of my furniture came, I had to sleep on the floor on my air mattrace, which the very first night turned out to have a small hole and the air came out before the morning arrived.  Now I'm smiling to myself remembering this story and my beginnings in Switzerland


You might wonder why I am telling you this? 

Lately, when I was reading the story of Perugino (for those of you who don't know him - don't worry, I will write below some 'need to know it' facts) I got inspired by his life and the works he created. 





Perugino was a Reneissance painter, one of the greatest painters before Raphael. In fact, he was the direct teacher of Raphael. 

In around 1467 Pietro Perugino came to Florence from his home town in Perugia, Italy.  As art historian Giorgio Vasari says, he came desiring to make a position for himself by his talents. For many months, having no bed to lie on, he slept in a box, applying himself with the utmost fervour to the study of his profession - painting. 


The story of his beginnings is so fascinating and while I was reading it I recalled my beginnings in Switzerland. Though I didn't have to sleep in a box,  I somehow felt I could relate to Perugino, at least in a similar regard :-)





Here we see one of the most interesting, in my view, paintings of Perugino. It's an altarpiece showing Madonna (the Virgin Mary) with the child and Mary Magdalene (the prostitute) among saints. What amazed me in this painting is the two spectacular feminine portraits

Take a closer look at the faces of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene





Both women share some angelic features, mild-eyed faces and feminine beauty. 

The Virgin Mary has her hair done in the same way as Mary Magdalene, according to the canon of beauty at that time. The rosy cheeks, small lips and delicacy of the lines of the face is mutual to both figures. The shape of their robes is also the same. 



The dominant colors of Virgin Mary's wardrobe are red and blue. These two colors have deep meaning and mystical connotations. She doesn't wear any jewellery and is rather portrayed as a Mother. Mary Magdalene, in turn, wears some jewellery on her head as well as on her neck. She's dressed in violet and green. You can also notice that she looks as if she has some make up on, some eye color on her eye lids. They both look womanly, but it's Mary Magdalene that definitely looks more attractive and eye-catching. She is portrayed here more as a Woman, than as a Mother. Some sources say that she was a prostitute, some - that she was the wife of Jesus and played even a more significant role than the Virgin Mary herself. This is disputable, and I will leave it for your consideration. 


Both woman figures, if you don't focus too much on the details, look pretty much the same. I would even dare to say that they are ONE. One woman in two representations. A caring and loving Mother, a giver of life and nurturer and on the other side - a Woman in bloom of her sexual power, seductiveness and feminine energy. 


We, dear women, in fact, are both. There are stages in our life when we are as Mary Magdalene and the stages of motherhood when we are more like the Virgin Mary. Take note, that both women have "Mary" as their name. Therefore, I would say that they represent different aspects of the divine feminine.






I made my portrait of "Deva" being inspired by the delicacy of the feminine faces that I've seen on the Fano Altarpiece. I transferred the sweetness and tenderness of the facial features, including the rosy cheeks and small lips. 




It's amazing when you start to think that the basic impulse whch inspired me to create this piece of art was Perugino's biography and how it related to my beginnings in Switzerland. I think all of us have some memorable stories, that can inspire others to create something unique and beautiful. Beauty is created also from the hardships and periods, when not everything was perfect. When you didn't have a bed to sleep on or when you quit everything to pursue something totally new. 


I would like to finish this article with a quote by Marcus Aurelius, which helped me to understand, that things 'happen' for a purpose and everything we face in our life is there to teach us something valuable. 

"Whatever the universal nature assigns to any man at any time is for the good for that man at that time"



Thanks for stopping by.

Please share if you find this article valuable.




27.02.2018 10:42:48

My wife and I have many stories about moving home and country, all with a touch of the romanticism associated with dreams of the future and going into the unknown. Your mention of Raphael brings back memories of one of those dream times. My work as a CEO of unromantic manufacturing companies had taken me around the world and the next stop was Scotland. There we agreed to purchase a very romantic place to be our next home - Penkill Castle. It had once been the home of Pre-Raphaelite artists Dante and others. They had painted directly on several internal walls including those of the round tower. The castle stands in an incredibly beautiful location and oozes love and romance. My wife was infatuated with it and I agreed to buy it from the American owner. There was a very unromantic thing that worried me. Those thick, fortress like walls were badly in need of expensive repair because they were leaking and endangering those wall paintings. The restoration costs would be vast so I let my head take over from my heart and pulled out of the transaction. But the lovely memories of what might have been live on and we found a dream home of another sort elsewhere in lovely Scotland. The castle with the round tower in these photos is Penkill Castle. https://www.google.ch/search?q=penkill+castle+girvan&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiE0bTj4MXZAhWEOBQKHY_kBvwQ7AkISw&biw=1920&bih=872#imgrc=5EHBjP-83rwFzM:

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