- NAME: Raphael
- OCCUPATION: Architect, Painter
- BIRTH DATE: April 06, 1483
- DEATH DATE: April 06, 1520
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Urbino, Italy
- PLACE OF DEATH: Rome, Italy
- Full Name: Rafaello Sanzio da Urbino
- AKA: Raffaello
- AKA: Raphael
- Nickname: "Prince of Painters"
- AKA: Raphael Santi
- AKA: Raphael Sanzio
- AKA: Rafaello Sanzio
- AKA: Rafaello Santi
Best Known For
A leading figure of Italian High Renaissance classicism, Raphael is best known for his "Madonnas," including the Sistine Madonna, and for his large figure compositions in the Palace of the Vatican in Rome.
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Raphael moved to Rome in 1508 to paint in the Vatican "Stanze" ("Room"), under Pope Julius II’s patronage. From 1509 to 1511, Raphael toiled over what was to become one of the Italian High Renaissance’s most highly regarded fresco cycles, those located in the Vatican's Stanza della Segnatura ("Room of the Signatura"). The Stanza della Segnatura series of frescos include The Triumph of Religion and The School of Athens. In the fresco cycle,
Raphael expressed the humanistic philosophy that he had learned in the Urbino court as a boy.
In the years to come, Raphael painted an additional fresco cycle for the Vatican, located in the Stanza d'Eliodoro ("Room of Heliodorus"), featuring The Expulsion of Heliodorus, The Miracle of Bolsena, The Repulse of Attila from Rome and The Liberation of Saint Peter. During this same time, the ambitious painter produced a successful series of "Madonna" paintings in his own art studio. The famed Madonna of the Chair and Sistine Madonna were among them.
By 1514, Raphael had achieved fame for his work at the Vatican and was able to hire a crew of assistants to help him finish painting frescoes in the Stanza dell’Incendio, freeing him up to focus on other projects. While Raphael continued to accept commissions -- including portraits of popes Julius II and Leo X -- and his largest painting on canvas, The Transfiguration (commissioned in 1517), he had by this time begun to work on architecture. After architect Donato Bramante died in 1514, the pope hired Raphael as his chief architect. Under this appointment, Raphael created the design for a chapel in Sant’ Eligio degli Orefici. He also designed Rome’s Santa Maria del Popolo Chapel and an area within Saint Peter’s new basilica.
Raphael’s architectural work was not limited to religious buildings. It also extended to designing palaces. Raphael’s architecture honored the classical sensibilities of his predecessor, Donato Bramante, and incorporated his use of ornamental details. Such details would come to define the architectural style of the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods.
On April 6, 1520, Raphael’s 37th birthday, he died suddenly and unexpectedly of mysterious causes in Rome, Italy. He had been working on his largest painting on canvas, The Transfiguration (commissioned in 1517), at the time of his death. When his funeral mass was held at the Vatican, Raphael's unfinished Transfiguration was placed on his coffin stand. Raphael’s body was interred at the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.
Following his death, Raphael's movement toward Mannerism influenced painting styles in Italy’s advancing Baroque period. Celebrated for the balanced and harmonious compositions of his "Madonnas," portraits, frescoes and architecture, Raphael continues to be widely regarded as the leading artistic figure of Italian High Renaissance classicism.
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