Sunday, 5 June 2011


Raphael Sanzio was one of the great artists of the Italian Renaissance and possibly the greatest natural draftsman that has ever been.  Raphael's cricketing prowess has not been considered by historians who have generally regarded the game in Renaissance Italy as, possibly dormant, or at least only a minority pursuit played only in private schools.

However Fantasy Bob is not convinced.  He considers that there is evidence that there was intense interest in the game.  This can be seen from this fine painting by Raphael which was made in 1505 and can be seen Brescia.

This very obvioulsy shows an umpire dismissing a batsman.  Art historians suggest that the face is a likeness of Raphael, which suggests that the artist had more than a passing familiarity with cricket.  FB has however been unable to determine why the umpire should be portrayed half naked.  This may be an accurate reflection of the way the game was played in Renaissance Italy, where whites were in short supply and the Italian temperament might have liked that kind of thing.  On the other hand, it may convey some deep artistic message about the vulnerability of umpires.  Readers will note the stab wounds, presumably the result of displeasure from one side or the other at previous decisions.  It appears from this that some aspects of the game in those days went beyond even present-day conceptions of toughness.  Umpires are rarely stabbed these days when they raise the finger, even in Australia.

Raphael was modern in other respects too.  He was evidently a great fan of Madonna who features prominently in his work. So far historians have not managed to identify any images of Lady Gaga.  So much for small mercies.

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