Monday, May 14, 2007

The Dream of Raphael

Giorgio Ghisi (1520-1582) Italian engraver
- The Dream of Raphael, or Allegory of Life

The meaning of this strange allegorical engraving has never been fully explained but perhaps represents a philosopher, weary of a rather rugged looking world (materialism?) where misfortune pursues him in the form of harrying dogs (the senses?) and falling stars (dis-aster). He leans on a dead tree (the fruitless search for materialistic knowledge?), and is preparing to cross a treacherous sea (the mind?) where sea-monsters and submerged rocks threaten. On the far shore the Goddess of Wisdom invites him to an idyllic world of idealised and ordered flora. The rainbow in the background evokes the bridge between Earth and Heaven.

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