Morghen, Raffaelle Sanzio, Cavaiere
Morghen, Raffaelle Sanzio, Cavaiere one of the most celebrated engravers of modern times, who devoted himself largely to sacred art, was born at Florence, Italy, June 19, 1758. His father, Filippo Morghen, was also an engraver, and instructed his son in the principles of the art with such success that at the age of twelve Raffaelle could engrave a very tolerable plate. At twenty his father, believing his son's genius worthy a more cultivated master, sent him to the celebrated Volpato at Rome, whose daughter he afterwards married. In 1771 he engraved Raphael's allegorical figures of Poetry and Theology, from the Vatican. In 1792 the Neapolitan court, wishing him to reside in Naples, offered him a salary of 600 ducats; but he accepted in preference an invitation from the grand-duke of Tuscany to Florence, where he established himself in 1793, with a salary of 400 scudi and free apartments in the city, under the condition that he might found a public school for engraving, and the privilege of engraving what he deemed fit, also retaining all his prints as his individual property. His first work in Florence was the Madonna della Seggiola. In 1795 he commenced the celebrated Madonna del Sacco, after Andrea del Sarto, and Raphael's Transfiguration. The first picture is in Florence, but the Transfiguration he engraved from a drawing by Tofanelli; the latter was completed in 1812, and dedicated to Napoleon I, by whom Morghen was invited to Paris and honored with valuable presents. This print was originally sold at four guineas, or twenty scudi, but the price afterwards realized for some impressions was £20 and £30. The engraving is a work of immense labor and great skill, and though not altogether satisfactory in the way of aerial perspective, being in parts hard and metallic, is highly valued as a work of art. Morghen's masterpiece, upon which he was engaged three years, is a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, the early impressions of which (1800) are among the most precious engravings of the work. He died at Florence April 8, 1833, having engraved, according to a list published by his pupil, Palmerini, 73 portraits, 47 Biblical and religious pieces, 44 historical and mythological pieces, 24
views and landscapes, and 13 vignettes and crests. See Engl. Cyclop. s.v.; Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine rts, s.v.; Nagler, Kiinstler Lex. s.v.