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Harmony of Line





Raphael’s study of  Michelangelo’s St Matthew shows sweeping harmonious lines describing the figure and a delicate use of hatching to model the form.


The concentration of detail in the upper regions of the figure and the simple, understated outline of the lower legs, draw the eye up to the head and shoulders. Had Raphael completely hatched in the figure, the dynamic movement from bottom to top would not occur.

Raphael’s variation in line thickness pulls the right shoulder and left knee of the model towards the viewer, emphasising the twist in the figure. The contour and hatching lines also follow the twist in the figure, reinforcing the movement from the legs up to the head.

Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Raphael (1483-1520) Study after Michelangelo’s St Matthew

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