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Sanzio Raphael

Sanzio Raphael

(1483 - 1520)
Born: Urbino, Italy
Style: High Renaissance
Famous Works:
  • The School of Athens (1510-11)
  • The Raphael Cartoons (1515-16)
  • Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary (Lo Spasimo) (c. 1514-16)
Raphael is the artist who best represents the accomplishments of the Italian Renaissance, and its apex in Florence in the beginning of the sixteenth century. He trained with Perugino, who taught him the use of one-point perspective to organize and unify the picture plane. Unlike his mentor, however, Raphael was able to capture a supreme sense of space. As seen in his Marriage of the Virgin, a composition after Perugino's, Raphael was a master of drawing figures. After leaving Perugino's studio, Raphael went to Florence, where he was exposed to the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The two artists had a profound effect on him, and he even became Michelangelo's rival. Although younger than both Leonardo and Michelangelo, Raphael was considered equal among them and joined them in the creation of many frescos. The ever-powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Raphael's The School of Athens in October 1508 for his library room in the Vatican. Another papal commission, issued by Pope Leo X, would lead to a series of ambitious tapestries for the Sistine Chapel, depicting the lives of Saint Paul and Saint Peter. Raphael was acutely aware that these tapestries would be sharing a room with Michelangelo's famous ceiling, and he worked tirelessly to perfect them. In addition to his other skills, Raphael was regarded as an extremely talented portraitist, exhibiting a tremendous talent for imbuing his subjects with power and beauty. His Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione is held as an example of this mastery. Raphael's success afforded him both a busy studio, and a reputation which extended internationally. Raphael died at the age of thirty seven, but was incredibly productive throughout his lifetime, leaving behind a substantial body of work.
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