Raphael Sanzio

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Raphael Sanzio

By | December 2012
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Raphael, or Raffaello Sanzio, was born on April 6, 1483 in Urbino, Italy. He was a painter and architect during the High Renaissance. Unlike the other Masters at the time, he was enormously productive, running a workshop that encompassed 50 pupils and assistants. Much of his works remain, since they were done mainly within the Vatican. His works are are commonly organized into three phases: his early career, which conveyed the influence of his teacher, the Florentine period, when Raphael went to the city for four years, and his last years when his best work was produced.

Raphael’s family was a very artistic family. His dad was court painter to the Duke of Urbino, Federico Il da Montefeltro, and he helped his dad paint some of the pieces. Growing up and around the court gave Raphael excellent manners and social skills, which other artists like Michelangelo lacked. His mom died when he was eight. His dad remarried, but then died four years later. Orphaned, Raphael lived with his uncle Bartolomeo, a priest. Since he had helped his father with the court art, he showed much talent while living with his uncle. There is a self portrait which exists, made when he was about 15 or 16; it the earliest known example of his work.

He started an apprenticeship with Umbrian master Pietro Perugino. By 1501, he was fully trained and considered a Master himself. His style though, is very hard to tell apart from his teacher. They have stylistic and technique similarities like thickly applied paint, and they both use a varnish which causes the finished piece paint to crack.

His first work by himself is the Baronci Altarpiece for the Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino about 1502. He visited Sienna with another Perugino assistant, Pinturcchio. They did a fresco series together in the Piccolomini Library and Sienna Cathedral. After that, he traveled to Florentine, from 1504-1508. He quickly absorbed Michelangelo’s work, and thought it was very inspiring. Michelangelo hated...