Raphael Sanzio

Raphael SanzioRaphael was an Italian painter and architect schooled in the Florentine style of painting during the times if High Renaissance. His artworks were celebrated for their perfection and grace. They were also admired for their clarity of form as well as the ease of composition in depicting the ideal of human grandeur during his time. He was also best known for his Madonna paintings as well as for his large figure artworks that can still be seen at the Vatican in Rome.

Raphael, or Raphael Sanzio was born in Urbino on April 6, 1483 to Giovanni Santi, a painter at the court of Urbino, and Magia di Battista Ciarla. Sadly, his mother died sometime in 1491 while his father died on august 4, 1494. the young Raphael was left an orphan at the age of eleven and came to live with his uncle Bartolomeo who was a priest.

The young Raphael showed his talent for the arts as a child and was said to be a great help to his painter father at his studio while he was still alive. By the time he was in his late teens, Raphael was already considered as a master by many people.

During Raphael’s time, Urbino already has become a center of culture that encouraged visits from outsiders of outstanding talents. And as a painter for the royal court at that time, Raphael’s father provided his son with access to the world of current culture and arts and came into contact with other great artists that provided the young painter with the different influences that would further develop his talent through the years.

Raphael’s first documented artwork was said to be an altarpiece made for the church of San Nicola of Tolentino. The artistic genius of Raphael was already evident from this altarpiece, so much so that he was given another important commission- to paint the Coronation of The Virgin for the Oddi Chapel in San Francesco in Perugia (the present Vatican museum in Rome).

Aside from being an accomplished painter during his time, Raphael was also known as a great architect and was commissioned to design a host of buildings in Rome. For a short time, he was also considered as the most important architect and painter in Rome and was even entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and cataloguing the Vatican collections of ancient sculpture.

For a time Raphael also became a student of two great Renaissance masters, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. It was during his stay in Rome that Raphael was able to do most of his well known Madonna paintings such as the Madonna Della Sedia. But what is probably the most discussed and the well-loved of Raphael’s paintings is the Sistine Madonna.

Many experts have tried to decipher the somewhat strange and troubled expressions that show in Mary’s face in the painting as well as that of the young Jesus Christ, pictured as somewhat terror-stricken. Sadly Raphael died at the early age of 37, on his birthday in the year 1520. He died at a time when people were still appreciating his marvelous works and could have shared more of his talent to a generation of art lovers.

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