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Raphael (Italian, 1483-1520)


Also known as:  Rafael; Rafael d'Urbino; Rafael de Urbino; Rafaele; Rafaele d'Urbino; Rafaello; Rafaelo; Raffael; Raffael d'Urbino; Raffael da Urbino; Raffael Urbinas; Raffaele d'Urbino; Raffaele Sanzio; Raffaelle; Raffaelle da Urbino; Raffaello; Raffaello d'Urbino; Raffaello da Urbino; Raffaello Sancio d'Urbino; Raffaello Santi; Raffaello Sanzio; Raffaelo Santi; Raffelle; Raphaël; Raphael Sancio; Raphael Sanctio da Urbino; Raphael Santo; Raphael Sanzio; Raphael Sanzio d'Urbino; Raphaël Urbinas; Raphaele; Raphaello Santi; Raphaello Sanzio; Raphaïl; Sanctius, Raphael; Santi, Raffaello; Santi, Raphaeel; Raphael Santi; Santi, Raphaello; Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino; Sanzio, Raffaele; Sanzio, Raffaelle; Sanzio, Raffaello; Sanzio, Raphaeel; Sanzio, Raphaello; Urbinas, Raphael Sanctius; Urbino, Raffaello da

Birth Place: Urbino (Pesaro e Urbino province, Marches, Italy)

One of Italy's three most prolific high Renaissance artists, Raphael was born Raffaello Sanzio on April 6, 1483 in Urbino, Italy. He is known for his elaborate frescoes in the Vatican and a series of paintings of the Madonna. The two cherubs painted at the base of his legendary "Sistine Madonna" have become a popular reproduction in current U.S. culture, often popping up on greeting cards, decorative housewares and prints. Raphael also excelled in producing portraits of leading figures of his day and designing a number of palaces and churches throughout Italy.

Raphael learned art, painting and humanism from his father, a painter for the Duke of Urbino. Raphael was orphaned at the age of 11, but continued his father's art workshop and soon began gaining commissions such as the Baronci altarpiece at the nearby Church of San Nicola.

At 17, he began an apprenticeship with Perugino, further developing his artistic style. He took on many of Perugino's techniques, including the penchant for using heavy applications of paint on darker elements and thinner applications for flesh tones. Just a year after his work with Perugino began, Raphael was already considered a master. His most notable works from this period are "The Knight’s Dream," "Mond Crucifixion," "The Three Graces" and the Oddi altarpiece, "Marriage of the Virgin."

In these early years, Raphael continued his work painting relatively large frescoes for churches while also completing small cabinet paintings and beginning his foray into scenes depicting the Madonna. The artist's Florentine period followed, where he was influenced by Leonardo di Vinci and began painting more dynamic figures. Michelangelo's famous dislike for Leonardo reportedly spilled over onto Raphael, accusing the younger Raphael of various treacheries. During this period, Raphael's most memorable works include the painting "La Belle Jardine" and the grand "Entombment."

Raphael moved in 1508 to Rome, where he was commissioned by Pope Julius II to create the frescoes adorning the Stanza della Segnatura. Considered his most famous and masterful works, these frescoes include "The Parnassus," "The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament," "The Cardinal Virtues" and "The School of Athens." His work continued in other rooms of the Vatican, now known as the Raphael Rooms, including Stanza di Eliodoro and Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo. During this time, he also became the pope's chief architect, and he painted his final Madonna, the "Sistine Madonna." Raphael died suddenly on his 37th birthday.

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