Raphael Sanzio da Urbino: A Brief Biography Essay

Rafael Sanzio was one of the most famous artists of the Renaissance along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. There were three main artistic periods in his life; first was his youth in Urbino, from 1483-1504; second his Florentine period from 1504-1508, when he, Leonardo and Michelangelo were all living in the same city; third his life in Rome, from 1508-1520, in which much of his work was commissioned by the Pope. Raphael’s style was typical of the Renaissance, with emphasis on light, balance, clarity, order, and depth.

Raphael Sanzio was born in Urbino, Italy on either March 28th, or April 6th 1483 to Magia Di Battista Ciarla and Giovanni Santi. His father Giovanni was a court painter to the Duke of Urbino. Both of Raphael’s parents died by the time he was 11. However, his father had already arranged that Raphael become an apprentice to Pietro Perugino. Raphael absorbed a huge amount from Perugino, and used many of the techniques that he learned from his teacher throughout his lifetime.

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Raphael completed his training with Perugino around 1501, and traveled around northern Italy for three years until moving to Florence, “the Center of the Renaissance” in 1504. There he was exposed to many different styles, including Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s. Leonardo’s art struck young Raphael, and it was noticeable in his own artwork made during that period. It was also during this time that a mutual dislike arose between Raphael and Michelangelo, which would continue for the rest of their lives. One odd fancy of Raphael’s while in Florence was drawings of naked, fighting, men. Although he made dozens of them, they never evolved to become full paintings, and left no other visible effects upon his body of work.

In 1508 Raphael mo…

… the Pope for the duke of Urbino. Originally painted on wood between 1514-1515, it was later removed from its panel and relined. This portrait, and portraits in general, were the product of Individualism, something that was one of the pillars of the Renaissance. This painting however, is set apart from the rest by it incredible texture and realness.

Raphael, although he lived such a short time, was onePortrait of Baldassare Castiglioneof the key figures during the Italian Renaissance. He learned from others, and his lessons were then passed on to others. Along with Michelangelo and Leonardo he brought on the High Renaissance, and with his premature death he brought it to a close. As his epigraph says: Herein lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die. Perhaps, just a little of it did.


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