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Featured Artist: Raphael      

Raphael (1483-1520)

We decided this time to feature an Italian painter…a true master during the Renaissance. Raphael (Raffealo Sanzio) was born in Urbino, Italy in 1483. He first learned painting techniques from his father, the artist Giovanni Santit. Raphael formally studied with a famous painter of the time, Perugino, who taught him simplicity and clarity of composition. Later, he was influenced by the complexity of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. In 1508, Raphael was commissioned by Pope Julius II (along with Michelangelo) to decorate several parts of the Vatican. The job was so large that Raphael hired several apprentices to help him. He was such a good instructor that it is said that in some parts of the Vatican you cannot tell Raphael's work from that of his students.

The following is from "The Art of the Italian Renaissance" by Rolf Toman:

"One of the most frequently discussed and best-loved paintings of the Renaissance is Raphael's so-called Sistine Madonna. For many people it remains the supreme example of western painting, and its popularity is virtually as great as that of the Mona Lisa."

Another amazing example of Raphael's work is School of Athens. In the center he features Aristotle and Plato (shown in the close-up) walking and talking in Greece. Toman remarks that "Plato is gesturing upward, as if pointing to the source of higher inspiration"…while "Aristotle is gesturing downwards, as if toward the natural sciences."

Today, Raphael is probably most popular for his many "cherub" paintings.

  Sistine Madonna (c. 1512-1514)  
School of Athens (c. 1510-1511)
Aristotle and Plato (close-up)