Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.
Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop and, despite his death at 37, leaving a large body of work. Many of his works are found in the Vatican Palace, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. The best known work is The School of Athens in the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura. After his early years in Rome much of his work was executed by his workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking.
After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models. His career falls naturally into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria, then a period of about four years (1504–1508) absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates.
Work / Education
Raffaello Sanzio, better known as Raphael, was born in late March or early April of 1483 in Urbino, Italy. As the son of painter Giovanni Santi, Raphael learned artistic techniques and Renaissance humanism from the time he was a small boy. His knowledge would come in very handy when his father died in 1494. With the help of his stepmother, the 11-year-old Raphael plunged right into managing his father's workshop, learning more and more as he worked and excelling beyond anyone's expectations.
As a teenager, however, Raphael knew it was time to move on. He wanted more than a small workshop. He longed to be a great artist, and to do that, he needed to develop his talent. Around 1500, he moved to Perugia to become an assistant to the artist Perugino. Here, Raphael practiced the style and techniques of the High Renaissance: classical elements, religious themes, realistic figures, intricate landscapes, compositional order and stability and complexities of light and shadow.
In the nearly four years he worked with Perugino, Raphael produced several of his early famous paintings, including the Mond Crucifixion, The Three Graces, The Knight's Dream and the altarpiece Marriage of the Virgin.