Rudolf Steiner Archive 

Lecture 10

Disputa and The School of Athens of Raphael

October 5, 1917

The artistic description of the imaginative spiritual
visualization of the forth post-Atlantian epoch at the
beginning of the fifth, which is becoming materialistic

Today, I am not planning to introduce these lectures through a number of pictures, but rather through a beginning thought, concerning mainly two pictures, that is, to show the role of those two pictures in the more recent history of human development. Then we will connect to this the epochs of the history of art further to this introductory lecture, as we did last year.

You see first here the picture to which I will relate today's considerations mostly, a picture you know well, Raphael's so-called “Disputa”.

1. Raphael. The Disputa. (Camera della Segnatura)

Briefly, let us visualize what this picture contains. We see below, in the middle of the picture, a kind of altar, upon it the chalice which contains the host, the symbol of the altar-sacraments. At the left and the right we see teachers of the church. We recognize this from their clothing. they are popes, bishops. And we see that the groups left and right become more active, especially as concerns the hand-gesture of one personality (as you see it, this is at the right of the altar). Particularly through this last one, we observe that all of them are taking part in what descents from above. Then, observing the space behind those groups close to the altar, we look into the landscape, and see masses of clouds, immediately above the landscape, in the upper half of the picture. We look, as it were, into the unending horizon of space. In the middle we see hovering on both sides of the dove, angel-like beings who have brought the gospels our of the indeterminate space of the Spiritual world. In the center we see the Holy Spirit, pictured by the symbol of the dove.

Above the Holy Spirit we have the figure of Christ-Jesus, clearly visible, but perhaps lying back a little, so that the Holy Spirit with the four angels-figures who are carrying the gospels would appear to be somewhat further forward — and above the figure of the Christ-Jesus and the figure of God, the Father. So we see the trinity above the chalice which contains the Holy Spirit. At both sides of the Christ-figure we have now, corresponding to the earthly group, a heavenly, spiritual group. We have saints on both sides of the Christ-figure. In the middle, immediately next to the Christ-figure are the Madonna and John the Baptist; then other saints: David, Abraham, Adam, Paul, Peter, etc. Further up, going into the clouds, we find then figures of truly spiritual beings.

Now this picture we have before us, this I would like first of all to place somewhat into the history of the development of humanity.

Let us first of all visualize what difference would result for us people of the present, if we should feel ourselves completely into the inner attitudes held at the time, in which this picture was painted. If we place ourselves into the 16th century, and compare this picture with the complex of feelings which might be the basis of an artist of today, what would we say? We would have to say: At that time, in the 16th century, when Pope Julius II ruled in Rome, where Raphael was active — in the middle of his twenties — called by Julius II, at that time, and at that place the picture was a true reality to the human feelings. To them the picture was a true reality. Today, of course, something similar could be painted. Should this similar work be similar in motif and form, to this picture, however, then it could not be true.

Such matters need to be clarified completely, otherwise a correct view of human history will never be reached. Instead there will always remain the abstract view of that legend — a bad legend — called “History of Humanity” in schools and universities nowadays.

All details our eyes can grasp in order to understand this picture, to understand it artistically, truly artistically, have a specific meaning. Consider that Raphael, this remarkable individual Raphael, whom we have discussed already several times, came to Rome at that time, the beginning of the 16th century. He himself is, in the body in which he was at that time, in the middle of his twenties, and we can presume that then he was in the middle of his twenties when he painted this picture. Then he was completely under the influence, the direction of two old predecessors.

The other protector of Raphael was Bramante. He carried in his mind the plan for a new St. Peter's Church. As I said before, both Julius II and Bramante were old people who had the storms of life behind themselves. They called this young man Raphael, to Rome. He was to serve them, to bring to expression through painting the new ideas that worked powerfully in their minds — new impulses which, they thought, needed to move through humanity. One needs to look somewhat closer at those impulses which are to come from Rome to penetrate humanity from the beginning of the 16th century on. These impulses are intimately connected on one hand with the development of the external Christian-church world, and also with every other element connected with it. On the other hand, they are connected with the whole historical development of the west.

Just consider how the human being of today finds it exceedingly difficult to place himself with his feelings and thoughts into the time from which — for instance — this picture, so often is called the “Disputa”, has grown. And more difficult yet it is for the person of today to imagine himself in still earlier centuries, even those centuries when Christianity was already active. I have mentioned this often. Today, the opinion is: Oh, the human being has been forever this or that way all along, just like today. But that is not the case at all. Especially in regard to the life of the soul they have not been this way. And when, almost two millennia ago the Mystery of Golgotha entered into human evolution, there was, in addition to what this Mystery of Golgotha became for the whole of the human development, also this Mystery of Golgotha itself, something totally different than it can be today for the human understanding.

Much, much too little thought is given to the significance of what came over humanity at the time this picture came about. Two events came over humanity. First, the discovery of America at the end of the 15th century, second the totally changed social condition of people through the invention of printing, and finally, what all has come about with Copernicanism, with Keplerism in the newer natural sciences.

Look at this picture. I said: Today, if a painter would paint it, it would no longer be a truth in the same sense as it was then. It could not be, for one could not find souls nowadays for whom this picture would be substantial in the same sense as it was when it was being painted — souls who see the world in a way conditioned by the fact that America has not yet been discovered, souls who still are looking up to the clouds, in honest believe, in order to see above the clouds that which we call today the spiritual world, see it in a physical-spacious way. Such souls you will no longer find today, not even among the most naive people. But we have a wrong concept of the people of that time if we do not believe that the content of the picture was for these people's souls completely substantial. Just think! What is the content of this picture?

From the spiritual-scientific standpoint, we can find a name for the content of this picture. We are used to think of imagination as the first step of vision into the higher worlds. If we say: Humanity, up to this 16th century, had the concept about the world, About the large world-space in connection with the earthly world which entered into imagination, then we say something correct. Imagination at that time was something alive, and Raphael painted the living imaginations which existed in the souls. Envisioning the world, having a picture of the world, was at that time still a matter of imagination.

These imaginations were pushed away through the caustic force of Copernicanism, of the discovery of America, of the art of printing. Only since that time, did humanity place instead of that which was called imagination — and is again called imaginative vision — the externally substantive conception of the total structure of the world. Hence, while the human being of today thinks: Out there is the sun, there the planets circle around etc., the people who did not have these concepts, when wanting to speak about such matters, spoke about imaginations. And this picture is an image of such an imagination.

The centuries where the, I might say “the imaginative looking of humanity” did gradually form, so that it found a certain conclusion in the 16th century, these centuries are then : the 16., 15., 14., 13., 12., 11., 10.,centuries, back into the 9th century, but not further. If we want to go further back, we do not get a correct picture any more.

If we want to visualize what developed through Christianity before the 9th, then we have to imagine the christian ideas to be much more spiritual than one is prone to do usually. Augustine already took out of the christian ideas only what he could use. But even reading Augustine today, one feels how other elements lived in the souls of that time as image of the world, and as a picture of the connection of the world with the human being. And when you read Scotus Erigena who taught at the time of Charles the Bald, you will receive particularly meaningful ideas. One might say that in these early centuries, when making oneself a picture of the world, people included very little of what the immediate sense-experience presented. Yes, we have to say that, if the people of those older centuries formed for themselves a picture of the world, then they included in this picture very little of what gave immediate sense-experiences. However they took all the more into themselves out of what the sense-experience did not give, but what was taken out of the old clairvoyant vision of the world. And if we go back into the first centuries after the Mystery of Golgotha and look for the Christian thoughts, then we find that they were so that one can rather say: The people were interested in the Heavenly Christ, the Christ who was in the spiritual world. And what he had become down on the earth they considered to be more like an addition.

To seek the Christ amidst spiritual beings, to think of him in connection with the supersensible-spiritual, that was the essential need. This was based on the old spiritual, though atavistic-spiritual, world-view. This way of seeing the world did in fact rule in the old cultures back into the third post-atlantian epoch. Then, the earth was truly considered to be a piece hanging on to the spiritual.

One needs to become acquainted with one essential concept which is essential if one wants to understand, to grasp, how humanity has developed up to our time. One must become acquainted with the concept that the European humanity needed, in order to unfold its culture, this pushing back of spiritual concepts. This we must judge with sympathy, not with antipathy. This we must not be judged at all with a critical mind, but we need to consider these facts simply as they are. It simply was the fate, the karma of Europe, in order to reach the culture it had to reach. It was the fate of Europe, to push the spiritual concepts back, to force them back, in a way.

And so, from the 9th century on, it became ever clearer and more meaningful that Europe needed a Christianity that pushes back the spiritual concepts. And a result of this necessity is the separation of the Church into the Greek-Oriental and the Roman-Catholic churches At that point, the East separated from the West. That is something most significant. It was the fate of the West to have to push back the spiritual impulses toward the past. There they remain. And we really do not understand the working of the spiritual impulses in humanity's development without being clear that this European peninsula — I consider Russia a part of Asia here — needed to force back the spiritual impulses toward the East starting from the 8th and 9th century on. There,they are held fast, developed apart from west- and middle-European life, and they grew into being the Russia of today.

That is very meaningful. Keep this well in mind. Nowadays we are used not to like seeing things as being connected. And so, such an event as the Russian revolution just seems to happen as though it came about a couple of months ago. Who knows what reasons one or the other person imagines might have been, and what made it happen. Yet the truth is, that there is a background to all of this: a certain spiritual life, which gradually had become invisible and unreachable was pushed back, had been stopped, and is now still working in a manner so undefinable and chaotic that the people standing within all that is happening in the East are really living within it as little as people who are swimming in the sea have the sea-water within themselves unless they are about to drown. The seawater they have outside themselves. And equally, all the spiritual impulses which worked to the surface in the East, are still existing from earlier times.

The people swim in it, and know very little of what is pushing there towards the surface, and what has been pushed-starting at the 9th century — back to the East, so it might be treasured there, as it were, in order to go through a development later. For the people who grew in the East, who gradually grew out of the great migration and other conditions, they received in their souls the spiritual impulses which the West and the South and the Middle of Europe could not use.

The West retains something remarkable for itself. The East, without knowing it — most truly important things really go on in the unconscious — held firmly to the basis of the Gospel word: “My realm is not of this world.”Therefore, in the Est what is the physical is strictly connected upward, toward the spiritual world. The West was really forced to inverse the sentence: “My realm is not of this world,” and so really to make the realm of Christ into a realm of this world. And then we see that Europe has the fate to constitute, coming from Rome, externally, as an empire on the physical plane, the realm of Christ. One might say: By Rome, since the 9th century, there was set the law: Break with the old sentence “My realm is not of this world,” and an earthly realm was constituted instead, which was to be the realm of Christ Jesus on earth, on the physical plane.

The Roman pope gradually became the one to say, “my realm is the realm of the Christ, but this realm of the Christ is of this world, and we must constitute it so, that it is of this world, that realm of the Christ. But there remained an awareness that it really is the realm of the Christ, that this realm is not to be built on the mere fundamentals of natural, external existence.” There was the awareness: Looking at nature, seeing everything that exists through the sun, through the light of the morning and evening, through what exists through the stars, we do not only find what the eyes see, what the ears hear, what hands can grasp, but we are facing at the same time the expanse of unending space which is the spiritual realm. And everything that exists here in the visible world is, in a sense, the last flow of the spiritual world. And this visible world is only complete if one is totally conscious that it is the flowing-out of the spiritual world. This spiritual world is concrete, but Man has lost the vision for this spiritual world. To man it is hidden but it exists, it is a reality. And when man steps through the portal of death, and receives special grace, then this step into the spiritual world is conscious. Those people were thought of in a much more living way than we tend to imagine this nowadays. Those people, then, were thought of as much more alive after death than we tend to visualize today. When the dead, especially those in special grace, had past through the portal of death, then they entered into a world which at this time we must imagine as penetrating the clouds, penetrating the stars, penetrating the planetary paths. Therefore, it was a definite reason, why the dead souls formed the upper group. And the dead souls had in their midst the concrete Mystery, the concrete secret of the trinity, this concrete secret which is combined out of the essence of the past: God-Father — out of the essence of the present: Christ Jesus — out of the essence of the future, The Holy Spirit.

But from whatever spreads itself out into the reality of time, there must be signs in this world of the senses, if this present world, the sense world, is not to remain simply an illusion, and if people don't want to live simply like animals one day. There must be signs for what is invisible in the spiritual world and hovers and lives above the clouds. Those born later need living signs, signs of what hovers invisibly above the clouds, and lives there. Those born earlier must have living signs from whatever those born earlier, who are now already post-mortem souls, know as immediate visual experience.

On the altar, there stands the chalice with the Sanctissimus, with the host. Is is not merely matter for the people standing around left and right, but the host is surrounded by its aura. And with this aura are active the forces who are descending from the trinity. Such imaginations, as they live in the heads of the church-fathers, the bishops, the popes, concerning the Holy of Holies which is on the altar, are no longer known at all by today's humanity. They were lost in the course of time. And in this picture is held fast the moment, when those people by the altar begin to understand: There is a Mystery standing on the altar, here the host is surrounded by something. And this something is seen by the souls who have died, especially the blessed souls; David, Abraham, Adam and Moses, Peter, Paul. This the dead see, just like the souls on the physical plane see the objects of the sense-world.

Let us look at this picture with the sanctissimus in the midst. Here we have before us what is down there, in the lowest section of the picture about which Pope Julius II said something like: This I want to create, from Rome, in the greatest glory possible. I want to found such a realm, an imperium, not a state, but an imperium. So that in this realm, this imperium, things will happen which are surrounded by such auras, that the past with its impulses can live in it : a realm which is of the world; but while being of this world, is a sign, a mark, for what lives in the spiritual worlds.

Such ideas Julius II probably sparked in Bramante, and then in the youthful Raphael. Through this, it became possible for the young Raphael to formulate this picture. Julius II in a sense wanted to have this picture in his workplace in order to have it always as a sign that in Rome an imperium was to be formed where the most important element were the mysteries.

But this realm was to be from this world, from this world which includes the spiritual.

Only when allowing all the impressions of which I have just spoken and saying to oneself: “The spiritual world was pushed back so much toward the East since the 9th century, as the clouds are pushed back upwards, and the spiritual world waited there until its time had come”, only then will one have an impression of this picture,

In contrast there prepares in the West the fifth post-Atlantian epoch. This fifth post-Atlantean epoch in which we are still living, and in which humanity will still live for a long time. And that stands completely under the signature: My realm is of this world. And this realm of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch will be more and more of this world., But in the realm which is of this world, such things are being done, almost at the beginning, at the beginning of this fifth post-Atlantean epoch, under the influence of Bramante and Julius II, by the youthful Raphael. The most important things in human development happen unconsciously. And Julius II called for Raphael for unconscious, but wise, reasons. We know that humanity has become ever younger in the course of the millennia. We know that in the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantian epoch it reached the age of 28, that it is now 27 years old. Certainly Bramante and Julius II were old people, but they could not have placed into the world, what the young Raphael with his body, which was a youthful one, could. And he had the strength of a 28 year-old just then, when he painted such a thing. Those are important spiritual backgrounds in the evolution of humanity.

And now, holding the thought we just described, let us visualize how Raphael painted in Rome, how he, in a way, painted the protest of the fourth post-atlantian age against the fifth. Let us think hypothetically that in Raphael's soul there was alive the following. It did really live in his unconscious. We can place this subconscious before ourselves hypothetically. Let us presume that there was living in Raphael's soul the knowledge of what was to come as the fifth post-Atlantian age, that there should come the godless, spiritless world of the post-Atlantean age, where humanity visualizes the empty, icy, cosmos, even visualizes the earth as spiritless, and attempts by means of using spiritless laws of nature to construct for itself a whole process of how the world comes to existence. Presume that before Raphael's soul there was placed the reality of the spiritlessness of the fifth post-Atlantian age. And this soul of Raphael had placed against this the impression: This must not happen! I will cast into this spiritless age, which describes a world-space having the spiritless world-fog as the Kant-Laplace Theory does, the Image of the living, spiritual existence. I will fill this bland, natural-historic existence with the imaginations which present themselves out of the old, clairvoyant, understanding view of the world. — Presume that in Raphael's soul, this is how it looked. It looked like that in the unconscious part of his soul. It even looked like that in the soul of Julius II.

Our age truly does not need to despise the great spirits, such as Julius II or even the Borgias, like history does, for history will yet have to give very different judgements of our contemporaries. Totally different judgements will yet have to be given about people of our time, than we have about Borgias or Julius, or similar personalities of earlier ages. People of the present don't distance themselves enough to see it.

So Raphael was born, one might say, at the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, really born as a child of that age. He truly was born out of this fifth post-Atlantian age, but as a soul protesting energetically against the age, wanting to place into this age through beauty, what the age could no longer experience as truth, who wanted to carry what can be spirituality perceived by the senses into the spiritless clinging-to-the senses, who wanted to carry into the fifth post-Atlantian age, what old times found through spiritual perception.

To carry over into the realm of this world, what was before seen spiritually — to place a second realm into this world, into what is perceived through the senses, but, is nevertheless full of signs of the supersensible — that roughly was Raphael's intention. And confirming its truth is this picture, a true picture all the way through, because it originated from the feelings filled with life of that time.

And now, think of that time. It is the time when the child of the fifth post-Atlantian age carries into the fifth the whole imaginative, spiritual picturing of the fourth, and as as the testament of the fourth post-Atlantian epoch. Just imagine this time. It is roughly the same year when a person from the north was sliding up the staircase of the rependents in Rome. Of it was said: If one slides up so-and-so many steps, then one does work so pleasing to God, that for every step one has slid up on one's knees, the corresponding number of days in purgatory will be forgiven. There is this man in Rome. He is there, believing, completely believing, concerned about the well-being of his soul, in order to be relieved of a certain number of time in purgatory by doing a task pleasing to God. At the same time, Raphael is painting his pictures in the Camera della Segnatura. He wanted to carry over into the fifth post-Atlantian age what older ages had gained through spiritual vision. Placing a second realm into this world, into what is available to the senses, placing there a sense-world full of signs of the supersensible, that roughly was Raphael's intent. And the truth of this we see in this picture, a picture, true, through and through, because it grew out of the feelings full of life at that time.

And now, consider that same time, when the child of the fifth post atlantean epoch carries into the fifth the total imaginative, spiritual-ability-to-create-pictures of the fourth post-Atlantian age into the fifth, and presents it like a remembrance, a testament of the fourth post atlantean epoch. Consider that time. It happens about at the same year when a personality from the North was crawling up the staircase in Rome, a staircase from which it was said: if one slides up a certain number of steps, one gives a service which pleases God, and so-and-so many days of purgatory will be forgiven. This man from the North who is in Rome is a believer. In all belief, he slides up the steps, concerned about the fate of his soul, in order to be forgiven so-and-so many days of purgatory by doing God's work, while Raphael paints his pictures Vatican in the Camera della Segnatura. And while he crawls up, this personality has a vision which shows the uselessness of such doings, of sliding up the staircase in order to avoid days in purgatory. Through seeing this, this personality is able to cut off the connection between himself and that world which Raphael is painting as the child of the fifth post-Atlantean age and as the testament of the post-Atlantean time.

You know that this Nordic personality is Luther, the antipode of Raphael. Seen in an external way, everything in Raphael is color and form, everything, spiritual picturing, everything expression and sign of a supersensible world, but given in sense-perceptible color and form. Everything is creating and forming figures. And Luther is in Rome at the same time when Raphael paints such pictures in the Vatican, in the Camera della Segnatura. Luther's soul is full of song, full of poetry but without figures. He is living in formlessnes of the soul, rejecting this whole world surrounding him in Rome. Just as in the 9th century the spiritual world of the East is pushed back, so Luther pushes back for his Nordic world whatever has remained of the testament of the fourth post-Atlantian epoch in Southern Europe. Luther pushes that back, and from then on we are facing the world divided into three: in the East, pushed back, there waits spirituality. In the South something forms which is like a testament of the fourth post-Atlantian epoch — which is again being pushed back and rejected. The musicality of the North takes over the place of the color- and form-rich testament of the form-rich testament of the South. Luther is truly the antipode of Raphael. Raphael is the child of the fifth post-Atlantean age, in whose soul the whole content of the fourth post-Atlantean epoch lives. Luther is the late-comer, coming behind out of the forth post-Atlantian epoch. Luther is not a person out of the fifth post-Atlantian time, in which he lived. One might say: Luther is only as though he were placed out of the fourth post-Atlantean time into the fifth. Luther, in the structure of his inner mind, is, one might say, totally a person out of the fourth post-Atlantean age. He thinks and feels like a person of that time, but he is placed into the fifth, and brings to life what now is to sound into that fifth post-Atlantian time with its empty relying on the senses, with its blank natural history, with its ice-fields of lacking spirituality. Raphael, the person from the fifth post-Atlantean epoch with his soul-content from the fourth post-Atlantean time. Luther, the Man who, because he has only been placed out of the fourth into the fifth, really stands with his soul in the fourth post-Atlantian epoch. He rejects everything external, and wants to build the impulse of the human soul upon what is not connected with external work and external action of people, but merely upon a connection between the human soul and the spiritual world — purely upon faith.

Now imagine that a painter would be wanting to paint, inspired by Luther, just as Raphael painted this picture inspired by Southern Catholicism. What would he be painting? He would perhaps paint something like a Christ figure, as Albrecht Dürer did, or he would paint a believer, and one might recognize in his physiognomy that in his soul something is living which has absolutely nothing to do with the physical surroundings and its objects.

In this way, one age follows the other. Nowadays we have totally different ideas. You can see this by looking at pictures of today, where the Christ is pictured as a human being among other human beings. So, for instance “Come Lord Jesus, be our Guest” by Uhde, and others — as human as possible.

2. Fritz Uhde, Come Lord Jesus, be our Guest (Berlin. National Gallery.)

In the picture “The Disputa” there is the group of bishops and teachers there below. In the middle is the signum, the sign, but it points to the supersensible world, this, very concretely, contains the trinity.
Now we will especially concentrate on the trinity. We have a picture which presents this trinity.

3. Raphael, Disputa with close-ups.

Above you see Godfather, below, the Spirit and the Son. You see these three members, as the concrete content of the present, the future and the past. The way the world was seen at that age, there would not have been any confusion of what lived as immediate experience in the dead souls living in grace, with the external world of the senses. But Raphael needed the free look out into the wide world, the free view out into natural space in order to picture truthfully in the sense of the visualizations of the time. In a sense, he needed to express through the picture: whatever we merely see, whatever fills the space is not the truth. But as the real truth, this is placed into space. Therefore, you find down there — you still can see the stripe on the horizon — the expanding perspective, going wide into infinity. In a sense what is expressed here is a protest against visualizing nature merely as speaking to the senses.

So Raphael did not find the right composition for this picture without effort. To make alive for us some of his attempts we will look at two of the sketches which he drew first, These are some examples out of which the picture grew gradually.

4. Raphael, Drawing from the Disputa.

This is the other sketch:

5. Raphael, Drawing for the Disputa.

We need to imagine the whole process this way: Raphael came — let us say about 1508 to Rome, was asked , was given the task by Julius II and then tried to form a picture of what he already had as an inward picture. Only gradually was he instructed by Julius II. Only gradually did form in him that relationship between space, and nature and the supersensible and sense oriented groups of humanity which was needed.

Also the other sketch, which relates more to the lower part of the first sketch, still shows a very incomplete approach. You see that Raphael has not yet come to terms with it. What Raphael still had to find was: To find, in the sense right for the time,the relationship between the spiritual world and nature. The old times, still until the 9th century, had a clear concept about the human past and the relation to nature in the present. As grotesque as it sounds to humanity today, people in the 9th century did not think that if anything happened, that would be caused accidentally, No, they knew that if anything happened, it happened so, because in the event in which they were involved, the dead with whom they were karmically connected were living. In the events surrounding Man, the people before the ninth century visualized the involvement of the dead. Then, gradually, such concepts disappeared, and what remained, was what I characterized for you concerning the 19th century.

If we return once more to this 9th century, we come to realize also that we have to keep in mind: a separation of time between natural world and spiritual world did not exist for those older groups. Nature was a kind of continuation downward from the spiritual world. That is before the 9th century. But Greece had already worked into that cosmic picture, what the human being is able to bring through his own thinking, through his ego standing on itself. What Raphael painted there, he brought that to expression himself, a painting on the ceiling above this picture, later called the Disputa, although there surely was nothing being disputed. He pictured a female figure in the symbolism of that time which carries the words: Divinerum Rerum Notitia (What is known of the divine things.) Basically, there existed still, before the 9th century, as a way of perceiving the World, that which “was known of the divine things.” And nature was only a golf, a space, which the divine world sent down, and in which the human being then existed.

The whole way of seeing the world was, as said before, pushed back towards the East, and the last trace has remained in those imaginations which were like a testament of the fourth post-Atlantian age: the paintings of Raphael. The intention was really in the South to create, on the physical plane, the realm of Christ as a realm of power, as an imperium. As little as other personalities of this kind, did Pope Julius II. write this on his flag, did he pronounce what he really intended. He truly wanted to found, what could not be founded then, because Luther came, because Calvin and Zwingli came. He wanted to found a Realm of Christ which was of this earth. But this he could not say and usually this kind of thing was called something esoteric by with such personalities. Julius II did not have the possibility to march through Italy as a commander in chief in order to harness the Italians into the Imperium, into the new Imperium Romanum. He said something else. He said that he was marching as the Commander through Italy in order to free the various Italian groups. Yes that is often said. Also in later times people say that one needs to do this or that in order to free the people while one really wants something totally different. But many people already believed at that time that Julius II was moving through Italy in order to free all the various Italian groups of people. This is said, of course. Julius II did not even think of it — not, as little as Woodrow Wilson thought, or even can think, of freeing any nation.

You see, there we have this powerful — divide, I would like to call it — between the two time-spaces: this holding back of the Southern era. Retained from the ancient Greek time was the dividing of the worldviews into two. It had become clear that there will no longer be any view any more, through what moves in nature caused by the living deeds of those who have died, if the human being develops that which he has unfolded out of the spiritual powers of his own inner being; then he does not receive Divinerum Rerum Notitia, not that “what is known of the divine things”, but he receives Causarum Cognito, “the knowledge of that which is present in the immediate world as causes.” But then he ought to be careful not to interpret the whole of nature through this. If one wants to receive a concept of nature — so Julius II would have called into the world with thundering words; had he found reason for that, if one wants to receive a concept of nature, and shows in her, that the sun rises, that the morning- and evening-red exist, the stars exist, just as the people of the fifth post-Atlantean age do, then one is lying. In truth, one is therewith denying that the Trinity rules, that the souls of the dead are active, that something truly lives in what is imaginatively expressed by glancing about and picturing the souls of the dead: David, Abraham, Paul, Peter, and the Holy Trinity. You are just excluding that which truly is in nature, the old eons, because you only present the youngest eon.

That is roughly what he would have said. If you want to rely only on yourself. If you want to develop only what can be developed through human forces, in the way they are tied to the physical body, you will receive only an external kind of science, a science of the outer nature of Man, a science which deals only with the outer nature of Man, a knowing about things only in so far as Man is not connected with the unending width of the world, but is crowded into, is woven into, the limits he is setting for himself.

This, roughly, must have been, what Julius II told Raphael: “If you want to paint what Man can know about his soul-forces, what he can know today about the human being, then you must not paint Man with the unending perspective according to nature, But you must enclose Man, no matter how intelligent, how wise he is, into limitations which he has determined for himself.”

“In halls you must enclose him. If you want to paint the world as it is ruled out of this room,” for Julius wanted to paint with the knowledge concerning the heavenly things, which one can find, if one only trusts one's own self, is pictured through one personality which points upwards. It is not necessary to commit the inartistic folly to define this figure as Plato. through the one personality which points with the hand upwards. They were all together, those wise people, as here, in the “School of Athens”. There is no need to commit the inartistic folly to consider this figure to be Plato.

What one may think concerning those two figures, could be characterized this way: what is pictured — brought to view — by the figure which points upward with the hand, passes over into the word spoken by the other personality. Through the hand-motion is indicated: the right figure, that is, the person at the right, begins to speak, it appears as though words were spoken. But everything coming forth from the human souls themselves —– it only is visualize the right way, when it is visualized in a closed space, when the human being also remains within himself. If Man seeks a picture of nature out of his own thinking, then he finds out of himself nothing but a picture of abstract nature, such as the copernican world view gives. It will not be a picture of concrete nature.

So, under the directions of Julius II, Raphael placed, facing the divine, what can live in the human soul itself in the beginning of the fifth post-Atlantean era. There we see grouped everything which is earthly science, but earthly science raising itself to grasping the divine, to the intellectual grasping of the divine.

We also have a picture of the figures in the middle.

9. Raphael, The School of Athens.

It is, hence, a matter of The contrast between that which is viewing and that which is speaking. Let us see clearly that the present is only understandable, if one tries to cast more and more such glances into the past, glances which we can cast if, with an artistic understanding, we reach a true sense for such pictures. Our time is a time when many a thing turns around. In our time there are returning in Europe — in Middle Europe, especially also in North Europe, just generally in West Europe — certain moods which connect through karma with the 9th century of European development. People don't see this very clearly yet, not only not clearly, but really not at all. What happens today has often come about from reaching, through necessity, for approaches spiritually opposite to what needed to be taken for the fate of Europe in the 9th century. Just as the spiritual world was pushed back toward the East, so it must now become again a living part of the whole physical plane. The moods of the 9th century after Christ are returning at this time in the European West, in the European Middle, in the European North. In the European East there will develop out of the chaos, out of the terrible chaos, something like moods which will remind;in an intimate way of the 16th century. And only after the sounding together of the moods of the 9th and 16th century, that mystery will come about which can shine somewhat into that where humanity of today must be sending the light if it is to lift itself to a unified understanding of development.

It is very remarkable to see how in the 16th century, through the arts, all that was the most filled with secrets, the most mysterious for nature and Man and God, was placed visibly to the outer world. The holy secret of trinity we have found placed before our souls through one of the world's most meaningful paintings. And the antipode rises immediately: the protestant, evangelical mood, which wants in no way to have anything to do with having these holy secrets placed into space in any manner. One can find quotes by Herman Grimm — a true northern, luciferic spirit — writing, where he says that, what the human being of today thinks about Christ is most rightfully kept in the most inner part of his soul. It is the precise opposite of the mood Raphael painted into the world.

You see, then, in the 16th century, reformation, in a sense a developing through reformation had in a sense become destiny for the world. This occurred also in Rome, also in the sphere of Julius II, the Pope. But how? It had become the world-fate, in such a way that people wanted to think about the idea that the supersensible is visible, but only visible through human development. And so there arose for Raphael and his surroundings a special problem. That Herman Grimm had found quite correctly. The problem was the Paulinic Christianity, yes, even the figure of Paul himself. It may be said that until the 16th century, Christianity was penetrated much more by what may be called Petrinic Christianity. It was penetrated much more by the figure of Peter, who still visualized the supersensible and the sensible world as an insight, is different. How Paulus understands, how he gains insight, you see it here; how Paulus teaches — this became a problem for Raphael.

10. Raphael. Holy Cecilia.

We have yet another picture of the speaking Paulus:

11. Raphael. Paul's Address to the Athenians

You see, Raphael studied Paul. What did Paul mean to him? The hero, the spiritual hero of the reformation, which should have succeeded coming from the South, but did not succeed. This was then pushed back, and later Jesuitism was placed instead from the South in place of the reformation. I have spoken of this before . (See lecture 2) Paul was to have brought about what Julius the Second had in mind as a Realm of Christ on earth.

And now, try to remember these two paulinic heads we have just allowed to work in our minds, as intensively as possible:

12. Raphael, Head of Paul from Holy Cecilia

13. Raphael. Head of Paul from The Sermon of Paul in Athens

These are heads Raphael had studied in order to picture in them that physiognomy which sees into the secrets, into the spiritual secrets of the christian world, — the physiognomy, which is able to announce these spiritual secrets through the word, and there we from Paulus the connecting link between the world we recognize as the world of causes, and that world which is accessible only to the blessed vision, to the supersensible world; Paulus seeing and teaching, the connecting link between the world of the 5th post-Atlantean age and the old spiritual age. And do take with you what Raphael has made his own through study of the Paul-Physiognomy, in the Paulus-Gesture down into the motions of the fingers — here Paul has just lifted his arms — take that along with yourself, and do look once more at the figure of the so-called “School of Athens”.

14. Raphael, Middle figure from The School of Athens

And compare the two Paulinic heads we have seen, with the head here, with the right one from your point of view, and you have that personality in whom the seeing has become the word, — I would like to say: that Paul, who has grown above the vision of the events of the Mystery of Damascus, who has become the Speaker for Christianity, who closes his pact, makes a compromise with that, which can be found in the Causarum Cognito, when one rises above recognizing the world of earthly causes to that which Man can experience through the divine things. And then you will sense some of that which, after all, like the “Signatur” — I would like to say — hovers through the Camera della Segnatura itself, if one looks from the picture which was called “The Disputa” in later times, over to that which was named “The School of Athens”. In the “Disputa” the truth, the spiritual truth, in the nature-filled space. If one turns the glance to the other wall, the wall across, then there steps toward one with his friend.

Then one sees living in the middle-figures those souls for whom that is content, which is painted in the fresco across.

Then one will find roughly this connection. Take the one wall for which that is the content which is painted in the fresco across:

Then one has roughly the connection. If you take the one wall — all that which exists in the souls inwardly, what one really does not see, of which one only sees the outer corporeality, that is pictured on the other, the opposing wall which is the fresco of the so-called Disputa.

I would like to say: If one could look into the souls of those two human beings who are painted on the one wall then one would see on the opposite wall that which is living in the souls of those two people on the wall on the other side, in the so-called “Disputa-Fresco”.

Another time more about this.



A Note from the Translator. Gertrude Teutsch

Translating is a manifold task. The translator must know the aim of his work. Is it facility of readability? Elegance of expression? Rhythms? Precision of formal language? Is it the speaker's language, his sense of humor, the clarity of explanation? In the case of translating Rudolf Steiner's Art-Lectures, it is creating for the reader, as much as possible, the opportunity to make alive in his thinking what Steiner intended to communicate to the listeners.

Characteristic for his work seems to be, according to the experience of this translator (after about 65 years) that repeated readings open up additional insights. Therefore the effort is made here to stay as close as possible to his way of presentation, while keeping the text clear. It is not commonly known that Steiner occasionally did form his own words, in order to make something clear. Elegance of expression was not a significant aim. These two facts also need to be kept in mind.

May the reader enjoy the experience of having understanding grow in the process of reading and re-reading, and may he excuse what occasionally seems to be a somewhat awkward expression.

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