Raffaello Sanzio "Raphael"

Raffaello Sanzio "Raphael"

Raphael self-portrait

Raffaello Sanzio, best known as 'Raphael'
1483 - 1520

Self-Portrait (1504-1506), oil on panel.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Place of Birth: Urbino, Marche
Where Raphael Worked: Florence, Rome, Perugia
Type of Art: Oil painting; Fresco;
Architectural design
Most Famous Artworks: The School of Athens, The Sistine Madonna

Biography of Raffaello Sanzio,
better known as 'Raphael'

Page Symbol for Artist pagesRaphael was born Raffaello Sanzio in Urbino, Italy on April 6, 1483. His father was the court painter Giovanni Santi; his mother was Magia Ciarla. He lost his mother when he was a young boy of eight and his father died only four years later.

Orphaned at the age of 12, Raphael lived with his stepmother for a time. Some historians believe that he and his stepmother may have managed his father's workshop for awhile. Opinions about his early life vary, but there is general agreement that at the age of 13 he left Urbino and began working in Perugia for the Umbrian master Pietro Perugino. It was here that Raphael gained oustanding knowledge and expertise in the art of making frescoes. Although Raphael was influenced by Perugino, his style was definitely his own. His figures had a sweetness about them and they were suffused with a gentle quality.

Raphael had a deep desire to learn more and so, in 1504, he moved to Florence. Learn he did, under great maestros like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Leonardo especially influenced him on figure grouping and lighting techniques. But Raphael was to separate himself from their intensity and excitement, and concentrate more on creating pieces that had uncomplicated figures who displayed typical human sentiments. From 1505 to 1507, he painted many of his world-famous Madonna portraits.

In 1508, Raphael was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II to decorate the Vatican apartments. Within a very short period of time Raphael became one of the dominant artistic personalities in Rome. His artistic gifts were so well respected and his services so highly prized, that he was soon called "The Prince of Painters." He spent the last 12 years of his life in Rome; those years were to prove very productive. He spent his first years in Rome painting three Stanze (rooms) in the Vatican apartments, under commission from Pope Julius II (the former Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere). The Stanze frescoes are shown below.

While in Rome, he continued to paint more Madonnas. Their style changed, showing more maturity of expression. He also became the most sought-after portraitist in Rome. He also began to develop his interest in architecture and archaeology. In 1515 Pope Leo X made him Commissioner of Antiquities for Rome.

Raphael never married but he was engaged in 1514 to Maria Bibbiena, the niece of a Cardinal. He was not very enthusiastic about the union, and Maria passed away in 1520 before they could marry. Although he remained unmarried, his most well known mistress was Margherita Luti -- the so-called baker's daughter, or 'La Fornarina.' He provided for Margherita in his will so that she would be well cared for after his death.

Near the end of March 1520, Raphael developed an acute illness which afflicted him for 15 days. During those two weeks he put his affairs in order; on his 37th birthday, he passed away.

His funeral Mass was celebrated at the Vatican, and he was laid to rest in the Pantheon at his own request.

Artwork of Raphael
(To see a larger version of the artwork below, just click on the picture)

Raphael's "Coronation of the Virgin"
The Crowning of the Virgin

Painted in 1502 - 1503. It now hangs in the Vatican galleries in Rome.

Raphael's "The Resurrection of Christ"
Resurrection of Christ

Painted in 1499 - 1502. It resides in the São Paulo Museum of Art in São Paulo, Brazil. This is thought to be one of Raphael's earliest works.

Raphael's  The Engagement of Virgin Mary"
The Engagement of Virgin Mary

Painted in 1504. It resides at the Brera Gallery in Milan. In this painting, Raphael added his name and date in the frieze of the temple in the background. In doing this he claimed an identity for himself in the art world, and was no longer anonymous.

Raphael's St. George Fighting the Dragon"
St. George Fighting The Dragon

Painted in 1503 - 1505. It now resides in the Louvre, Paris. This painting was originally commissioned by the Duke of Urbino as a gift for King Henry VII of England. Its intended destination is emphasized by the fact that St. George is the patron saint of England.

Raphael's "Self Portrait With a Friend"
Self-Portrait With A Friend

Painted in 1518 - 1519. It now resides in the Louvre, Paris. Raphael is standing in the background and the identity of his friend is not known for sure.

Raphael's "La Fornarina"
La Fornarina

Painted in 1518 - 1519. Now in the Palazzo Barberini, Rome. This portrait is of Raphael's long-time mistress Margherita Luti, daughter of a baker from Siena. Although Raphael never married, his relationship with her was a longstanding one. When he died, he left funds with which she could support herself.

Raphael's St, Michael Vanquishing Satan"
St. Michael Vanquishing Satan

Painted in 1518. It now resides in the Louvre, Paris.

Raphael's "Ezekiel's Vision"
Ezekiel's Vision

Painted c.1518. It now resides in the Pitti Palace, Florence.

Raphael's "Madonna" paintings.

One of the things that Raphael is best known for is his "Madonna" paintings, and once you set your eyes on these masterpieces, there is no wonder why that is so.

This is a series of 'cartoons' that were commissioned by Pope Leo X, for the purpose of having them made into a series of tapestries. The 'cartoons' were completed c. 1516 and were then sent to the workshop of Pieter van Aelst, where they were made into tapestries.

Raphael spent the last 12 years of his life in Rome. During that period, he created several frescoes in the Vatican apartments for Pope Julius. They are in three rooms: the Stanza della Segnatura, the Stanza di Eliodoro, and the Stanza dell'Incendio di Borgo.






Page symbol for Artist pagesWhere Raphael's Artwork is Displayed

You will find Raphael's artwork and architectural design in the following museums, churches, and buildings:

- Vatican Museums, Rome (most famously the frescoes in the Raphael Rooms, or Stanze)
- St. Peter's Basilica, Rome (contributions to floor plan)
- Villa Farnesina, Rome
- Borghese Gallery, Rome
- Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome
- Sant'Agostino Basilica, Rome
- Sant'Eligio degli Orefici church, Rome (architectural design)
- Chigi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo church, Rome (architectural design, Sibyl frescoes, and dome mosaic design)
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence
- Pitti Palace, Florence
- Brera Gallery, Milan
- National Art Gallery of Bologna, Italy
- National Gallery of the Marche, Urbino, Italy
- Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, Italy
- Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia, Italy
- National Museum of Capodimonte, Naples
- Louvre, Paris
- Musée Condé, Chantilly, France
- National Gallery, London
- Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England
- Royal Library and Print Room, Windsor Castle, England
- British Museum, London
- Prado Museum, Madrid
- Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany
- Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
- Alte Pinakothek, Munich
- Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
- Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
- Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
- National Gallery, Washington DC
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
- São Paulo Museum of Art, São Paulo, Brazil

Page symbol for Artist pagesTrivia About Raphael:

- Raphael's Esterhazy Madonna was stolen from the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest in 1983, but was later recovered at an abandoned Greek convent near Aigio.

- According to Vasari's biography, Raphael was born on Good Friday, and died on Good Friday.

Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari, biographer of Raphael ('Lives of the Artists,' 1550)

- The painting below was discovered in 1938 in Bogotá, Colombia. It was authenticated the next year in New York, and taken to Chicago for restoration. It was named the Madonna of Bogotá. Its current whereabouts are unknown, but there is speculation that it 'lives' in a vault somewhere in New York. It parallels the Madonna of the Rose almost exactly.

Raphael's "Madonna of Bogata"
Madonna of Bogotá

- When Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painted Henry IV Playing With His Children, he payed homage to Raphael by including the Madonna della seggiola in the background of the painting. Click on the full Ingres painting below to see the Madonna on the wall behind the main scene.
Raffaello Sanzio "Raphael" - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Madonna della seggiola

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres "Henry IV Playing With His Children"
Henry IV Playing With His Children

- Many of Raphael's masterpieces were looted by French armies under Napoleon in 1799, but many were later returned in the early 1800s.

- The set of seven tapestries that Pope Leo X commissioned about the Acts of the Apostles was woven in Brussels at the workshop of Pieter van Aelst. Later, a similar set was commissioned by Henry VIII of England.

Pieter van Aelst
Pieter van Aelst

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