Raffaello Sanzio

Style is the perfection of good sense
(John Stuart Mill)

Raphael (1483-1520), Italian Renaissance painter, is one of the greatest and most popular artists of all time. Raphael was born Raffaello Santi or Raffaello Sanzio in Urbino on April 6, 1483, and received his early training in art from his father, the painter Giovanni Santi. In 1499 he went to Perugia, in Umbria, and became a student and assistant of the painter Perugino. Raphael imitated his master closely; their paintings of this period are executed in styles so similar that art historians have found it difficult to determine which were painted by Raphael.

Madonna della sedia The Ansidei Madonna Virgin and Child

Florentine Period

In 1504 Raphael moved to Florence, where he studied the work of such established painters of the time as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Fra Bartolommeo, learning their methods of representing the play of light and shade, anatomy, and dramatic action.

At this time Raphael made the transition from the typical style of the Umbrian school, with its emphasis on perspective and rigidly geometrical composition, to a more animated, informal manner of painting. His development during his Florentine period can best be traced in his numerous Madonnas. The earliest example, still Umbrian in inspiration, is the Madonna del Granduca (1504-1505, Pitti Palace, Florence).

Self-portrait and Madonnas Russia, 1983, Holy Family

Later examples, which in serenity of expression and composition show the influence of Leonardo, include the well-known La Belle Jardinière (1507-1508, Louvre) and the Madonna of the Goldfinch (1505, Uffizi Gallery, Florence).

Ras al Khaima, 1968. Mothers Day. Madonna of the Goldfinch (detail).


Our Lady called of the Impannata (detail)
Cook Islands, 1975. The Holy Family.

The last of his Madonnas executed at Florence, the Madonna del Baldacchino (1508, Pitti Palace), a monumental altarpiece, is similar in style to the work of Fra Bartolommeo.

Link: Sistine Madonna

Created 1997. Revised: 03/20/09.
Copyright © 1997 - 2009
by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved in all countries.

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