Raphael Sanzio

Raphael was born on April 6, 1483, as Raffaello Sanzio. He was born in Urbino. Raphael was said to be unusually handsome, pensive and fair. Raphael had born talent and received early training in art from his father, Giovanni Santi. He also learned new techniques from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Beauty and serenity were his great emotional themes.

In 1499 he went to Perugia in Urbino and became a student and assistant of painter, Perugino. Around 1508-09 he was 25 and called to Rome by Pope Julius II to direct the decoration of the state rooms in the Vatican Palace. In 1509 he was hard at work on a suite of papal apartments. In Rome, in 1515, Raphael became the first Superintendent of Antiquities. In 1515-16 he painted ten large water color scales. He found the cultural and intellectual climate very exciting in Rome.

Raphael died on his thirty-seventh birthday, April 6, 1520, and was buried in the Pantheon amidst universal mourning and acclaim.

Raphael painted the Madonna dell Granduca, The Small Cowper Madonna, and The Alba Madonna. He painted Stanza dell Incendio and the four large-scale paintings were Marriage of the Virgin, Sposalizio, The Crucified Christ with Virgin Mary and Saints and Angels. He painted a portrait of The Courtier and author Baldassare Castiglione in 1515. In the Vatican Palace his first room he completed was the so-called Stanza della Signatura (Room of the Signature). In the Vatican Palace he had the opportunity to apply his classical art on a grand scale.

Raphael had great interest in portraiture and he was a classical perfectionist. He painted pictures using oil on wood. He studied the work of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Fra Bart Domneo. Raphael learned the play of light and shade, anatony and dramatic action. Raphael executed a number of easel paintings. In 1514 Raphael was made chief architect of Saint Peter’s Basilica. A year later he was appointed director of all excavations of antiquities in and near Rome.

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