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Raphael. Famous Artist.
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Born:1483-01-01   Died: 1520-01-01

Raphael was a painter and architect of the Florentine school in the Italian High Renaissance. Born in Urbino, he studied in Perugia under Pietro Perugino. But after leaving Perugino and moving to Florence he soon adopted the styles of Leonardo and Michelangelo.

Raphael is best known for his Madonnas and Holy families and for his large frescoes(murals) in the Vatican Palace. In 1509 he was called to Rome to decorate the Vatican Stanze (rooms), for Pope Julius II. The best known of these works are the School of Athens and the Disputation on the Blessed Sacrament, two large, arch-shaped frescoes, the first depicting the pagan philosophers of Antiquity grouped around Plato and Aristotle and the second depicting Christian theologians grouped under Christ. Under Pope Leo X, he was chief architect of Saint Peter's Basilica in 1514 and he was named as a sort of supervisor for Roman archaeology research.

He died on his thirty-seventh birthday in Rome (reportedly just weeks before Julius was to invest him as a cardinal) and was buried there in the Pantheon, the country's most honored place.

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  • Raphael

    Superb harmony and balance!

  • Portrait of the Artist with a Friend.
    Portrait of the Artist with a Friend.

    Location:Louvre, Paris, France

    This is a double portrait the artist himself. He stands behind a man on whose shoulder his hand rests familiarly. He stands calmly behind this unknown man (a friend or a pupil, perhaps Polidoro da Caravaggio), looking out of the picture with a serious expression. The friend's gesture is not meant for the onlooker, but seems more directed at Raphael, as if he were showing him something - himself, perhaps, in a mirror.

  • St. George
    St. George

    Location:Louvre, Paris, France

    Commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, Raphael painted this picture as a gift for the King of England, Henry VII. St George is the patron Saint of England. According to legend, St George saved a city and rescues a princess by slaying a ferocious dragon.

  • The Sistine Madonna (detail)
    The Sistine Madonna (detail)

    Location:Dresden Gallery, Dresden, Germany.

    This depiction of a cupid is a detail of 'The Sistine Madonna' (1513-14) and the image had become part of popular culture. The complete painting is held at the Dresden Gallery, Dresden, Germany.

  • Saint Sebastian.
    Saint Sebastian.

    Location:Pinacoteca dell'Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, Italy

    Sebastian was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and was martyred. He is shown half-length against a landscape background holding an arrow, the instrument of his martyrdom.The relationship of this early painting to the style of Raphael's teacher, Pietro Vannucci, Il Perugino, is evident in the figures soft, composed classicism, the oval face, the angle of the head and the landscape background.

  • The Three Graces.
    The Three Graces.

    Location:Conde Museum, Chantilly, France

    Painted in Florence, this work is based on the poem 'Punica' by Silius Italicus, which tells the story of a sleeping knight, who has to chose between pleasure (Venus) and virtue (Minerva). The Three Graces of this painting reward his choice with the Golden . Apples of the Hesperides. Raphael's graceful composition is an eloquent study of the female human form. This is also his first of a female nude in both front and back views.

Learning art through great artists and their paintings is fun and exciting. Our friend and resident artist Stefan Mager has kindly given this introduction to the art world.

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