Self-Portrait, around 1495


Young Raffael sees himself and the world in an enchanted mirror of transfiguration and radiance. Poetic, dreamy and meditational, like a prayer, the early work of a genius displays a graceful cantilene of the rising and almost unnoticably disappearing lines, with such a very tender gaze and an ennobled spirit.

Vasari notes: "All bad mood simply disappeared when his comrades would see him." The boy has captured this winning kindness without becoming seduced by bathos or striking an attitude ...

All the greatness which transmutes the world begins with the heavenly gift of natural devotion and is renewed - constantly - through the impartial relationship between the world and the child.