Honestly, Raphael In Perugia Beats Sex In Inverness Every Time

Could anyone paint better?
Painting in Perugia by Raphael

Fiona Graham writes from Perugia: It’s Sunday, which is as good a day as any for some cultural infusion mixed with bit of humour. We are a humorous website, you know. 
Anyway, so here I am, sitting opposite the Duomo in a cafĂ© in the centre of Perugia, pondering the end of a two week teaching session. Another Negroni with a double-gin shot top and bottom? Or do I do what I came to do? The lady at the next table is the decider. Talk? Non-stop. 
Scotland is beyond brilliance. Great art, food, music, housing, weather and sex? To die for. Some have. But it’s all in English said with an accent distinctly south of the border. Now, I’m a Scot and proud of all those assets she’s found in my country – especially the last. But we can do our own bragging, thank you very much. But she has got me on the move. 
With an exaggerated glare in her direction – which, of course, is wasted because she’s too busy telling how she wore down her nails on two kilted fusiliers lost in Inverness – I take myself off to see the only known frescoes of Raphael in Perugia. 
People don’t much go there. Maybe it’s too hard to find with a climb up the hill towards the basilica that houses it in a tiny chapel behind a thick mysterious curtain. There are two frescoes, one on top of the other. The top one is clearly the master. The Raphael sports that special something, that enigmatic quality that made him shine above his contemporaries. Look at the hands. 

A Piece of the Raphael Room
A Piece of the Raphael Room (Photo credit: Alias Rex)

What about the bottom half? It simply cannot be Raphael. An apprentice? The son of a rich father. A cardinal’s catamite ? Both?

Compare the top work, the Raphael, to the clumsy treatment below: the feet, the inferior characterisation of the figures including the daft expression on the nun’s face – definitely not Sister Scary Mary, who incidentally is alive and almost well in the convent in Montefalco. Put Perugia on your travel schedule, but most certainly do not miss nearby Assisi for it. That’s another story though.

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