Raphael: Wikis


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Portrait of Raphael, probably "a later adaptation of the one likeness which all agree on", that in The School of Athens, vouched for by Vasari[1]

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino[2] (April 6 or March 28, 1483 – April 6, 1520[3]), better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings and drawings. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.[4]

Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and despite his death at thirty-seven, a large body of his work remains. Many of his works are found in the Apostolic Palace of The Vatican, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. After his early years in Rome, much of his work was designed by him and executed largely by the workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models.

His career falls naturally into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria, then a period of about four years (from 1504–1508) absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates.[5]

The School of Athens, 1511-12, the most famous of Raphael's Vatican frescos, in the Stanza della Segnatura.



Raphael was born in the small but artistically significant Central Italian city of Urbino in the Marche region,[6] where his father Giovanni Santi was court painter to the Duke. The reputation of the court had been established by Federico III da Montefeltro, a highly successful condottiere who had been created Duke of Urbino by the Pope - Urbino formed part of the Papal States - and who died the year before Raphael was born. The emphasis of Federico's court was rather more literary than artistic, but Giovanni Santi was a poet of sorts as well as a painter, and had written a rhymed chronicle of the life of Federico, and both wrote the texts and produced the decor for masque-like court entertainments. His poem to Federico shows him as keen to show awareness of the most advanced North Italian painters, and Early Netherlandish artists as well. In the very small court of Urbino he was probably more integrated into the central family circle than most court painters.[7]

Giovanni Santi, Raphael's father; Christ supported by two angels, c.1490

Federico was succeeded by his son Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, who married Elisabetta Gonzaga, daughter of the ruler of Mantua, the most brilliant of the smaller Italian courts for both music and the visual arts. Under them, the court continued as a centre for literary culture. Growing up in the circle of this small court gave Raphael the excellent manners and social skills stressed by Vasari.[8] Court life in Urbino at just after this period was to become set as the model of the virtues of the Italian humanist court by Baldassare Castiglione's depiction of it in his classic work The Book of the Courtier, published in 1528. Castiglione moved to Urbino in 1504, when Raphael was no longer based there but frequently visited, and they became good friends. Other regular visitors to the court were also to become great friends: Pietro Bibbiena and Pietro Bembo, both later Cardinals, were already becoming well known as writers, and would be in Rome during Raphael's period there. Raphael mixed easily in the highest circles throughout his life, one of the factors that tended to give a misleading impression of effortlessness to his career. He did not receive a full humanistic education however; it is unclear how easily he read Latin.[9]

Early life and work

His mother Màgia died in 1491 when Raphael was eight, followed on August 1, 1494 by his father, who had already remarried. Orphaned at eleven, Raphael's formal guardian became his only paternal uncle Bartolomeo, a priest, who subsequently engaged in litigation with his stepmother. He probably continued to live with his stepmother when not living as an apprentice with a master. He had already shown talent, according to Giorgio Vasari, who tells that Raphael had been "a great help to his father".[10] A brilliant self-portrait drawing from his teenage years shows his precocious talent.[11] His father's workshop continued and, probably together with his stepmother, Raphael evidently played a part in managing it from a very early age. In Urbino, he came into contact with the works of Paolo Uccello, previously the court painter (d. 1475), and Luca Signorelli, who until 1498 was based in nearby Città di Castello.[12]

Probable self-portrait drawing by Raphael in his teens

According to Vasari, his father placed him in the workshop of the Umbrian master Pietro Perugino as an apprentice "despite the tears of his mother". The evidence of an apprenticeship comes only from Vasari and another source,[13] and has been disputed — eight was very early for an apprenticeship to begin. An alternative theory is that he received at least some training from Timoteo Viti, who acted as court painter in Urbino from 1495.[14] But most modern historians agree that Raphael at least worked as an assistant to Perugino from around 1500; the influence of Perugino on Raphael's early work is very clear: "probably no other pupil of genius has ever absorbed so much of his master's teaching as Raphael did", according to Wölfflin.[15] Vasari wrote that it was impossible to distinguish their hands at this period, but many modern art historians claim to do better and detect his hand in specific areas of works by Perugino or his workshop. Apart from stylistic closeness, their techniques are very similar as well, for example having paint applied thickly, using an oil varnish medium, in shadows and darker garments, but very thinly on flesh areas. An excess of resin in the varnish often causes cracking of areas of paint in the works of both masters.[16] The Perugino workshop was active in both Perugia and Florence, perhaps maintaining two permanent branches.[17] Raphael is described as a "master", that is to say fully trained, in 1501.

His first documented work was the Baronci altarpiece for the church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino in Città di Castello, a town halfway between Perugia and Urbino. Evangelista da Pian di Meleto, who had worked for his father, was also named in the commission. It was commissioned in 1500 and finished in 1501; now only some cut sections and a preparatory drawing remain.[18] In the following years he painted works for other churches there, including the "Mond Crucifixion" (about 1503) and the Brera Wedding of the Virgin (1504), and for Perugia, such as the Oddi Altarpiece. He very probably also visited Florence in this period. These are large works, some in fresco, where Raphael confidently marshalls his compositions in the somewhat static style of Perugino. He also painted many small and exquisite cabinet paintings in these years, probably mostly for the connoisseurs in the Urbino court, like the Three Graces and St. Michael, and he began to paint Madonnas and portraits.[19] In 1502 he went to Siena at the invitation of another pupil of Perugino, Pinturicchio, "being a friend of Raphael and knowing him to be a draughtsman of the highest quality" to help with the cartoons, and very likely the designs, for a fresco series in the Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral.[20] He was evidently already much in demand even at this early stage in his career.

Influence of Florence

Raphael led a "nomadic" life, working in various centres in Northern Italy, but spent a good deal of time in Florence, perhaps from about 1504. However, although there is traditional reference to a "Florentine period" of about 1504-8, he was possibly never a continuous resident there.[21] He may have needed to visit the city to secure materials in any case. There is a letter of recommendation of Raphael, dated October 1504, from the mother of the next Duke of Urbino to the Gonfaloniere of Florence: "The bearer of this will be found to be Raphael, painter of Urbino, who, being greatly gifted in his profession has determined to spend some time in Florence to study. And because his father was most worthy and I was very attached to him, and the son is a sensible and well-mannered young man, on both accounts, I bear him great love...".[22]

As earlier with Perugino and others, Raphael was able to assimilate the influence of Florentine art, whilst keeping his own developing style. Frescos in Perugia of about 1505 show a new monumental quality in the figures which may represent the influence of Fra Bartolomeo, who Vasari says was a friend of Raphael. But the most striking influence in the work of these years is Leonardo da Vinci, who returned to the city from 1500 to 1506. Raphael's figures begin to take more dynamic and complex positions, and though as yet his painted subjects are still mostly tranquil, he made drawn studies of fighting nude men, one of the obsessions of the period in Florence. Another drawing is a portrait of a young woman that uses the three-quarter length pyramidal composition of the just-completed "Mona Lisa", but still looks completely Raphaelesque. Another of Leonardo's compositional inventions, the pyramidal Holy Family, was repeated in a series of works that remain among his most famous easel paintings. There is a drawing by Raphael in the Royal Collection of Leonardo's lost Leda and the Swan, from which he adapted the contrapposto pose of his own Saint Catherine of Alexandria.[23] He also perfects his own version of Leonardo's sfumato modelling, to give subtlety to his painting of flesh, and develops the interplay of glances between his groups, which are much less enigmatic than those of Leonardo. But he keeps the soft clear light of Perugino in his paintings.[24]

Leonardo was more than thirty years older than Raphael, but Michelangelo, who was in Rome for this period, was just eight years his senior. Michelangelo already disliked Leonardo, and in Rome came to dislike Raphael even more, attributing conspiracies against him to the younger man.[25] Raphael would have been aware of his works in Florence, but in his most original work of these years, he strikes out in a different direction. His Deposition of Christ draws on classical sarcophagi to spread the figures across the front of the picture space in a complex and not wholly successful arrangement. Wöllflin detects the influence of the Madonna in Michelangelo's Doni Tondo in the kneeling figure on the right, but the rest of the composition is far removed from his style, or that of Leonardo. Though highly regarded at the time, and much later forcibly removed from Perugia by the Borghese, it stands rather alone in Raphael's work. His classicism would later take a less literal direction.[26]

Roman period

The Vatican "Stanze"

By the end of 1508, he had moved to Rome, where he lived for the rest of his life. He was invited by the new Pope Julius II, perhaps at the suggestion of his architect Donato Bramante, then engaged on St. Peter's, who came from just outside Urbino and was distantly related to Raphael.[29] Unlike Michelangelo, who had been kept hanging around in Rome for several months after his first summons,[30] Raphael was immediately commissioned by Julius to fresco what was intended to become the Pope's private library at the Vatican Palace.[31] This was a much larger and more important commission than any he had received before; he had only painted one altarpiece in Florence itself. Several other artists and their teams of assistants were already at work on different rooms, many painting over recently completed paintings commissioned by Julius's loathed predecessor, Alexander VI, whose contributions, and arms, Julius was determined to efface from the palace.[32] Michelangelo, meanwhile, had been commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

This first of the famous "Stanze" or "Raphael Rooms" to be painted, now always known as the Stanza della Segnatura after its use in Vasari's time, was to make a stunning impact on Roman art, and remains generally regarded as his greatest masterpiece, containing The School of Athens, The Parnassus and the Disputa. Raphael was then given further rooms to paint, displacing other artists including Perugino and Signorelli. He completed a sequence of three rooms, each with paintings on each wall and often the ceilings too, increasingly leaving the work of painting from his detailed drawings to the large and skilled workshop team he had acquired, who added a fourth room, probably only including some elements designed by Raphael, after his early death in 1520. The death of Julius in 1513 did not interrupt the work at all, as he was succeeded by Raphael's last Pope, the Medici Pope Leo X, with whom Raphael formed an even closer relationship, and who continued to commission him.[33] Raphael's friend Cardinal Bibbiena was also one of Leo's old tutors, and a close friend and advisor.

Raphael was clearly influenced by Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling in the course of painting the room. Vasari said Bramante let him in secretly, and the scaffolding was taken down in 1511 from the first completed section. The reaction of other artists to the daunting force of Michelangelo was the dominating question in Italian art for the following few decades, and Raphael, who had already shown his gift for absorbing influences into his own personal style, rose to the challenge perhaps better than any other artist. One of the first and clearest instances was the portrait in The School of Athens of Michelangelo himself, as Heraclitus, which seems to draw clearly from the Sybils and ignudi of the Sistine ceiling. Other figures in that and later paintings in the room show the same influences, but as still cohesive with a development of Raphael's own style.[34] Michelangelo accused Raphael of plagiarism and years after Raphael's death, complained in a letter that "everything he knew about art he got from me", although other quotations show more generous reactions.[35]

These very large and complex compositions have been regarded ever since as among the supreme works of the grand manner of the High Renaissance, and the "classic art" of the post-antique West. They give a highly idealised depiction of the forms represented, and the compositions, though very carefully conceived in drawings, achieve "sprezzatura", a term invented by his friend Castiglione, who defined it as "a certain nonchalance which conceals all artistry and makes whatever one says or does seem uncontrived and effortless ...".[36] According to Michael Levey, "Raphael gives his [figures] a superhuman clarity and grace in a universe of Euclidian certainties".[37] The painting is nearly all of the highest quality in the first two rooms, but the later compositions in the Stanze, especially those involving dramatic action, are not entirely as successful either in conception or their execution by the workshop.

Other projects

The Vatican projects took most of his time, although he painted several portraits, including those of his two main patrons, the popes Julius II and his successor Leo X, the former considered one of his finest. Other portraits were of his own friends, like Castiglione, or the immediate Papal circle. Other rulers pressed for work, and King Francis I of France was sent two paintings as diplomatic gifts from the Pope.[38] For Agostino Chigi, the hugely rich banker and Papal Treasurer, he painted the Galatea and designed further decorative frescoes for his Villa Farnesina, and painted two chapels in the churches of Santa Maria della Pace and Santa Maria del Popolo. He also designed some of the decoration for the Villa Madama, the work in both villas being executed by his workshop.

One of his most important papal commissions was the Raphael Cartoons (now Victoria and Albert Museum), a series of 10 cartoons, of which seven survive, for tapestries with scenes of the lives of Saint Paul and Saint Peter, for the Sistine Chapel. The cartoons were sent to Brussels to be woven in the workshop of Pier van Aelst. It is possible that Raphael saw the finished series before his death—they were probably completed in 1520.[39] He also designed and painted the Loggia at the Vatican, a long thin gallery then open to a courtyard on one side, decorated with Roman-style grottesche.[40] He produced a number of significant altarpieces, including The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia and the Sistine Madonna. His last work, on which he was working up to his death, was a large Transfiguration, which together with Il Spasimo shows the direction his art was taking in his final years—more proto-Baroque than Mannerist.[41]


Vasari says that Raphael eventually had a workshop of fifty pupils and assistants, many of whom later became significant artists in their own right. This was arguably the largest workshop team assembled under any single old master painter, and much higher than the norm. They included established masters from other parts of Italy, probably working with their own teams as sub-contractors, as well as pupils and journeymen. We have very little evidence of the internal working arrangements of the workshop, apart from the works of art themselves, often very difficult to assign to a particular hand.[42]

The most important figures were Giulio Romano, a young pupil from Rome (only about twenty-one at Raphael's death), and Gianfrancesco Penni, already a Florentine master. They were left many of Raphael's drawings and other possessions, and to some extent continued the workshop after Raphael's death. Penni did not achieve a personal reputation equal to Giulio's, as after Raphael's death he became Giulio's less-than-equal collaborator in turn for much of his subsequent career. Perino del Vaga, already a master, and Polidoro da Caravaggio, who was supposedly promoted from a labourer carrying building materials on the site, also became notable painters in their own right. Polidoro's partner, Maturino da Firenze, has, like Penni, been overshadowed in subsequent reputation by his partner. Giovanni da Udine had a more independent status, and was responsible for the decorative stucco work and grotesques surrounding the main frescoes.[43] Most of the artists were later scattered, and some killed, by the violent Sack of Rome in 1527.[44] This did however contribute to the diffusion of versions of Raphael's style around Italy and beyond.

Vasari emphasises that Raphael ran a very harmonious and efficient workshop, and had extraordinary skill in smoothing over troubles and arguments with both patrons and his assistants - a contrast with the stormy pattern of Michelangelo's relationships with both.[45] However though both Penni and Giulio were sufficiently skilled that distinguishing between their hands and that of Raphael himself is still sometimes difficult,[46] there is no doubt that many of Raphael's later wall-paintings, and probably some of his easel paintings, are more notable for their design than their execution. Many of his portraits, if in good condition, show his brilliance in the detailed handling of paint right up to the end of his life.[47]

Other pupils or assistants include Raffaellino del Colle, Andrea Sabbatini, Bartolommeo Ramenghi, Pellegrino Aretusi, Vincenzo Tamagni, Battista Dossi, Tommaso Vincidor, Timoteo Viti (the Urbino painter), and the sculptor and architect Lorenzetto (Giulio's brother-in-law).[48] The printmakers and architects in Raphael's circle are discussed below. It has been claimed the Flemish Bernard van Orley worked for Raphael for a time, and Luca Penni, brother of Gianfrancesco, may have been a member of the team.[49]



After Bramante's death in 1514, he was named architect of the new St Peter's. Most of his work there was altered or demolished after his death and the acceptance of Michelangelo's design, but a few drawings have survived. It appears his designs would have made the church a good deal gloomier than the final design, with massive piers all the way down the nave, "like an alley" according to a critical posthumous analysis by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. It would perhaps have resembled the temple in the background of the The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple.[50]

The Palazzo Aquila, now destroyed

He designed several other buildings, and for a short time was the most important architect in Rome, working for a small circle around the Papacy. Julius had made changes to the street plan of Rome, creating several new thoroughfares, and he wanted them filled with splendid palaces.[51]

An important building, the Palazzo Aquila for Leo's Papal Chamberlain, was completely destroyed to make way for Bernini's piazza for St. Peter's, but drawings of the facade and courtyard remain. The facade was an unusually richly decorated one for the period, including both painted panels on the top story (of three), and much sculpture on the middle one.[52]

The main designs for the Villa Farnesina were not by Raphael, but he did design, and paint, the Chigi Chapel for the same patron, Agostino Chigi, the Papal Treasurer. Another building, for Pope Leo's doctor, the Palazzo di Jacobo da Brescia, was moved in the 1930s but survives; this was designed to complement a palace on the same street by Bramante, where Raphael himself lived for a time.[53]

View of the Chigi Chapel

The Villa Madama, a lavish hillside retreat for Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, later Pope Clement VII, was never finished, and his full plans have to be reconstructed speculatively. He produced a design from which the final construction plans were completed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Even incomplete, it was the most sophisticated villa design yet seen in Italy, and greatly influenced the later development of the genre; it appears to be the only modern building in Rome of which Palladio made a measured drawing.[54]

Only some floor-plans remain for a large palace planned for himself on the new "Via Giulia" in the Borgo, for which he was accumulating the land in his last years. It was on an irregular island block near the river Tiber. It seems all facades were to have a giant order of pilasters rising at least two storeys to the full height of the piano nobile, "a gandiloquent feature unprecedented in private palace design".[55]

In 1515 he was given powers as "Prefect" over all antiquities unearthed entrusted within the city, or a mile outside. Raphael wrote a letter to Pope Leo suggesting ways of halting the destruction of ancient monuments, and proposed a visual survey of the city to record all antiquities in an organised fashion. The Pope's concerns were not exactly the same; he intended to continue to re-use ancient masonry in the building of St Peter's, but wanted to ensure that all ancient inscriptions were recorded, and sculpture preserved, before allowing the stones to be reused.[56]


Study for soldiers in this Resurrection of Christ, ca 1500.
Lucretia, engraved by Raimondi after a drawing by Raphael.[57]

Raphael was one of the finest draftsmen in the history of Western art, and used drawings extensively to plan his compositions. According to a near-contemporary, when beginning to plan a composition, he would lay out a large number of stock drawings of his on the floor, and begin to draw "rapidly", borrowing figures from here and there.[58] Over forty sketches survive for the Disputa in the Stanze, and there may well have been many more originally; over four hundred sheets survive altogether.[59] He used different drawings to refine his poses and compositions, apparently to a greater extent than most other painters, to judge by the number of variants that survive: "... This is how Raphael himself, who was so rich in inventiveness, used to work, always coming up with four or six ways to show a narrative, each one different from the rest, and all of them full of grace and well done." wrote another writer after his death.[60] For John Shearman, Raphael's art marks "a shift of resources away from production to research and development".[61]

When a final composition was achieved, scaled-up full-size cartoons were often made, which were then pricked with a pin and "pounced" with a bag of soot to leave dotted lines on the surface as a guide. He also made unusually extensive use, on both paper and plaster, of a "blind stylus", scratching lines which leave only an indentation, but no mark. These can be seen on the wall in The School of Athens, and in the originals of many drawings.[62] The "Raphael Cartoons", as tapestry designs, were fully coloured in a glue distemper medium, as they were sent to Brussels to be followed by the weavers.

In later works painted by the workshop, the drawings are often painfully more attractive than the paintings.[63] Most Raphael drawings are rather precise—even initial sketches with naked outline figures are carefully drawn, and later working drawings often have a high degree of finish, with shading and sometimes highlights in white. They lack the freedom and energy of some of Leonardo's and Michelangelo's sketches, but are nearly always aesthetically very satisfying. He was one of the last artists to use metalpoint (literally a sharp pointed piece of sliver or another metal) extensively, although he also made superb use of the freer medium of red or black chalk.[64] In his final years he was one of the first artists to use female models for preparatory drawings—male pupils ("garzoni") were normally used for studies of both sexes.[65]


Raphael made no prints himself, but entered into a collaboration with Marcantonio Raimondi to produce engravings to Raphael's designs, which created many of the most famous Italian prints of the century, and was important in the rise of the reproductive print. His interest was unusual in such a major artist; from his contemporaries only Titian, who had worked much less successfully with Raimondi, shared it.[66] A total of about fifty prints were made; some were copies of Raphael's paintings, but other designs were apparently created by Raphael purely to be turned into prints. Raphael made preparatory drawings, many of which survive, for Raimondi to translate into engraving.[67]

The most famous original prints to result from the collaboration were Lucretia, the Judgement of Paris and The Massacre of the Innocents (of which two virtually identical versions were engraved). Among prints of the paintings The Parnassus (with considerable differences)[68] and Galatea were also especially well-known. Outside Italy, reproductive prints by Raimondi and others were the main way that Raphael's art was experienced until the twentieth century. Baviero Carocci, called "Il Baviera" by Vasari, an assistant who Raphael evidently trusted with his money,[69] ended up in control of most of the copper plates after Raphael's death, and had a successful career in the new occupation of a publisher of prints.[70]

Private life and death

La Fornarina, Raphael's mistress.

Raphael lived in the Borgo, in rather grand style in a palace designed by Bramante. He never married, but in 1514 became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, Cardinal Medici Bibbiena's niece; he seems to have been talked into this by his friend the Cardinal, and his lack of enthusiasm seems to be shown by the marriage not taking place before she died in 1520.[71] He is said to have had many affairs, but a permanent fixture in his life in Rome was "La Fornarina", Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker (fornaro) named Francesco Luti from Siena who lived at Via del Governo Vecchio.[72] He was made a "Groom of the Chamber" of the Pope, which gave him status at court and an additional income, and also a knight of the Papal Order of the Golden Spur. Vasari claims he had toyed with the ambition of becoming a Cardinal, perhaps after some encouragement from Leo, which also may account for his delaying his marriage.[71]

According to Vasari, Raphael's premature death on Good Friday (April 6, 1520) (possibly his 37th birthday), was caused by a night of excessive sex with Luti, after which he fell into a fever and, not telling his doctors that this was its cause, was given the wrong cure, which killed him.[73]

Whatever the cause, in his acute illness, which lasted fifteen days, Raphael was composed enough to receive the last rites, and to put his affairs in order. He dictated his will, in which he left sufficient funds for his mistress's care, entrusted to his loyal servant Baviera, and left most of his studio contents to Giulio Romano and Penni. At his request, Raphael was buried in the Pantheon.[74]

Vasari, in his biography of Raphael, says that Raphael was also born on a Good Friday, which in 1483 fell on March 28. This would mean that while Raphael was born and died on Good Friday, he was actually older than 37 on the 1520 Good Friday which fell on April 6.[75]

His funeral was extremely grand, attended by large crowds. The inscription in his marble sarcophagus, an elegiac distich written by Pietro Bembo, reads: "Ille hic est Raffael, timuit quo sospite vinci, rerum magna parens et moriente mori." Meaning: "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die."

Critical reception

Raphael was highly admired by his contemporaries, although his influence on artistic style in his own century was less than that of Michelangelo. Mannerism, beginning at the time of his death, and later the Baroque, took art "in a direction totally opposed" to Raphael's qualities;[76] "with Raphael's death, classic art - the High Renaissance - subsided", as Walter Friedländer put it.[77] He was soon seen as the ideal model by those disliking the excesses of Mannerism:

the opinion ...was generally held in the middle of the sixteenth century that Raphael was the ideal balanced painter, universal in his talent, satisfying all the absolute standards, and obeying all the rules which were supposed to govern the arts, whereas Michelangelo was the eccentric genius, more brilliant than any other artists in his particular field, the drawing of the male nude, but unbalanced and lacking in certain qualities, such as grace and restraint, essential to the great artist. Those, like Dolce and Aretino, who held this view were usually the survivors of Renaissance Humanism, unable to follow Michelangelo as he moved on into Mannerism.[78]

Vasari himself, despite his hero remaining Michelangelo, came to see his influence as harmful in some ways, and added passages to the second edition of the Lives expressing similar views.[79]

Raphael's compositions were always admired and studied, and became the cornerstone of the training of the Academies of art. His period of greatest influence was from the late 17th to late 19th centuries, when his perfect decorum and balance were greatly admired. He was seen as the best model for the history painting, regarded as the highest in the hierarchy of genres. Sir Joshua Reynolds in his Discourses praised his "simple, grave, and majestic dignity" and said he "stands in general foremost of the first [ie best] painters", especially for his frescoes (in which he included the "Raphael Cartoons"), whereas "Michael Angelo claims the next attention. He did not possess so many excellences as Raffaelle, but those he had were of the highest kind..." Echoing the sixteenth-century views above, Reynolds goes on to say of Raphael:

Raphael and Maria Bibbiena's tomb in the Pantheon. The Madonna is by Lorenzetto.

The excellency of this extraordinary man lay in the propriety, beauty, and majesty of his characters, his judicious contrivance of his composition, correctness of drawing, purity of taste, and the skilful accommodation of other men’s conceptions to his own purpose. Nobody excelled him in that judgment, with which he united to his own observations on nature the energy of Michael Angelo, and the beauty and simplicity of the antique. To the question, therefore, which ought to hold the first rank, Raffaelle or Michael Angelo, it must be answered, that if it is to be given to him who possessed a greater combination of the higher qualities of the art than any other man, there is no doubt but Raffaelle is the first. But if, according to Longinus, the sublime, being the highest excellence that human composition can attain to, abundantly compensates the absence of every other beauty, and atones for all other deficiencies, then Michael Angelo demands the preference.[80]

Reynolds was less enthusiastic about Raphael's panel paintings, but the slight sentimentality of these made them enormously popular in the 19th century:"We have been familiar with them from childhood onwards, through a far greater mass of reproductions than any other artist in the world has ever had..." wrote Wölfflin, who was born in 1862, of Raphael's Madonnas.[81]

In 19th century England the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood explicitly reacted against his influence (and that of his admirers such as "Sir Sploshua"), seeking to return to styles before what they saw as his baneful influence. According to a critic whose ideas greatly influenced them, John Ruskin:

The doom of the arts of Europe went forth from that chamber [the Stanza della Segnatura], and it was brought about in great part by the very excellencies of the man who had thus marked the commencement of decline. The perfection of execution and the beauty of feature which were attained in his works, and in those of his great contemporaries, rendered finish of execution and beauty of form the chief objects of all artists; and thenceforward execution was looked for rather than thought, and beauty rather than veracity.

And as I told you, these are the two secondary causes of the decline of art; the first being the loss of moral purpose. Pray note them clearly. In mediæval art, thought is the first thing, execution the second; in modern art execution is the first thing, and thought the second. And again, in mediæval art, truth is first, beauty second; in modern art, beauty is first, truth second. The mediæval principles led up to Raphael, and the modern principles lead down from him.[82]

He was still seen by 20th century critics like Bernard Berenson as the "most famous and most loved" master of the High Renaissance,[83] but it would seem he has since been overtaken by Michelangelo and Leonardo in this respect.[84]

See also


  1. ^ Jones and Penny, p. 171
  2. ^ Variants include "Raffaello Santi", "Raffaello da Urbino" or "Rafael Sanzio da Urbino". The surname Sanzio derives from the latinization of the Italian Santi into Santius. He normally signed documents as "Raphael Urbinas" - a latinized form. Gould:207
  3. ^ Jones and Penny, pp. 1 and 246. He died on his thirty-seventh birthday, and was both born and died on Good Friday, according to different sources. The matter has been much discussed, as both cannot be true.
  4. ^ See, for example Honour, Hugh; John Fleming (1982). A World History of Art. London: Macmillan. p. 357. 
  5. ^ Vasari, pp. 208, 230 and passim.
  6. ^ Urbino: The Story of a Renaissance City By June Osborne, p.39 on the population, as a "few thousand" at most; even today it is only 15,000 without the students of the University
  7. ^ Jones and Penny, pp. 1-2
  8. ^ Vasari:207 & passim
  9. ^ Jones & Penny:204
  10. ^ Vasari, at the start of the Life. Jones & Penny:5
  11. ^ Ashmolean Museum image
  12. ^ Jones and Penny: 4-5, 8 and 20
  13. ^ Simone Fornari in 1549-50, see Gould:207
  14. ^ Jones & Penny:8
  15. ^ contrasting him with Leonardo and Michelangelo in this respect. Wölfflin:73
  16. ^ Jones and Penny:17
  17. ^ Jones & Penny:2-5
  18. ^ It was later seriously damaged during an earthquake in 1789.
  19. ^ Jones and Penny:5-8
  20. ^ One surviving preparatory drawing appears to be mostly by Raphael; quotation from Vasari by - Jones and Penny:20
  21. ^ Gould:207-8
  22. ^ Jones and Penny:5
  23. ^ National Gallery, London Jones & Penny:44
  24. ^ Jones & Penny:21-45
  25. ^ Vasari, Michelangelo:251
  26. ^ Jones & Penny:44-47, and Wöllflin:79-82
  27. ^ image
  28. ^ drawing
  29. ^ Jones & Penny:49, differing somewhat from Gould:208 on the timing of his arrival
  30. ^ Vasari:247
  31. ^ although Julius was no great reader - an inventory compiled after his death has a total of 220 books, large for the time, but hardly requiring such a receptacle. There was no room for bookcases on the walls, which were in cases in the middle of the floor, destroyed in the 1527 Sack of Rome. Jones & Penny:4952
  32. ^ Jones & Penny:49
  33. ^ Jones & Penny:49-128
  34. ^ Jones & Penny:101-105
  35. ^ Blunt:76, Jones & Penny:103-5
  36. ^ Book of the Courtier 1:26 The whole passage
  37. ^ Levey, Michael; Early Renaissance, p.197 ,1967, Penguin
  38. ^ One a portrait of Joanna of Aragon, Queen consort of Naples, for which Raphael sent an assistant to Naples to make a drawing, and probably left most of the painting to the workshop. Jones & Penny:163
  39. ^ Jones & Penny:133-147
  40. ^ Jones & Penny:192-197
  41. ^ Jones & Penny:235-246, though the relationship of Raphael to Mannerism, like the definition of Mannerism itself, is much debated. See Craig Hugh Smyth, Mannerism & Maniera, 1992, IRSA Vienna, ISBN 3900731330
  42. ^ Jones and Penny:146-147, 196-197, and Pon:82-85
  43. ^ Jones and Penny:147, 196
  44. ^ Vasari, Life of Polidoro online in English Maturino for one is never heard of again
  45. ^ Vasari:207 & 231
  46. ^ See for example, the Raphael Cartoons
  47. ^ Jones & Penny:163-167 and passim
  48. ^ The direct transmission of training can be traced to some surprising figures, including Brian Eno, Tom Phillips and Frank Auerbach [1]
  49. ^ Vasari (full text in Italian)pp197-8 & passim; see also Getty Union Artist Name List entries
  50. ^ Jones & Penny:215-218
  51. ^ Jones & Penny:210-211
  52. ^ Jones & Penny:221-222
  53. ^ Jones & Penny:219-220
  54. ^ Jones and Penny:226-234; Raphael left a long letter describing his intentions to the Cardinal, reprinted in full on pp.247-8
  55. ^ Jones & Penny:224(quotation)-226
  56. ^ Jones & Penny:205 The letter may date from 1519, or before his appointment
  57. ^ drawing, probably not the final one
  58. ^ GB Armenini (1533-1609) De vera precetti della pittura(1587), quoted Pon:115
  59. ^ Jones & Penny:58 & ff; 400 from Pon:114
  60. ^ Ludovico Dolce (1508-68), from his L'Aretino of 1557, quoted Pon:114
  61. ^ quoted Pon:114, from lecture on The Organization of Raphael's Workshop, pub. Chicago, 1983
  62. ^ Not surprisingly, photographs do not show these well, if at all. Leonardo sometimes used a blind stylus to outline his final choice from a tangle of different outlines in the same drawing. Pon:106-110.
  63. ^ Lucy Whitaker, Martin Clayton, The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection; Renaissance and Baroque, p.84, Royal Collection Publications, 2007, ISBN 978 1 902163 291
  64. ^ Pon:104
  65. ^ National Galleries of Scotland
  66. ^ Pon:102. See also a lengthy analysis in: Landau:118 ff
  67. ^ The enigmatic relationship is discussed at length by both Landau and Pon in her Chapters 3 and 4.
  68. ^ Pon:86-87 lists them
  69. ^ "Il Baviera" may mean "the Bavarian"; if he was German, as many artists in Rome were, this would have been helpful during the 1527 Sack; Marcantonio had many printing-plates looted from him. Jones and Penny:82, see also Vasari
  70. ^ Pon:95-136 & passim; Landau:118-160, and passim
  71. ^ a b Vasari:230-231
  72. ^ Art historians and doctors debate whether the right hand on the left breast in La Fornarina reveal a cancerous breast tumour detailed and disguised in a classic pose of love."The Portrait of Breast Cancer and Raphael's La Fornarina", The Lancet, December 21, 2002/December 28, 2002.
  73. ^ Various other historians provide different theories: Bernardino Ramazzini (1700), in his De morbis artificum, noted that painters at the time generally led “sedentary lives and melancholic disposition” and often worked “with mercury- and lead-based materials.” Bufarale (1915) “diagnosed penumonia or a military fever” while Portigliotti suggested “pulmonary disease.” Joannides has stated that “Raphael died of over-work. Note also that Raphael's age at death is also debated by some, with Michiel asserting that Raphael died at thirty-four, while Pandolfo Pico and Girolamo Lippomano arguing that Raphael died at thirty-three. For all see: Shearman:573.
  74. ^ Vasari:231
  75. ^ Art historian John Shearman, addressed this apparent discrepancy: "The time of death can be calculated from the convention of counting from sundown, which Michaelis puts at 6.36 on Friday 6 April, plus half-an-hour to Ave Maria, plus three hours, that is, soon after 10.00 pm. The coincidence noted between the birth-date and death-date is usually thought in this case (since it refers to the Friday and Saturday in Holy Week, the movable feast rather than the day of the month) to fortify the argument that Raphael was also born on Good Friday, i.e., 28 March 1483. But there is a notable ambiguity in Michiel’s note, not often noticed: Morse Venerdi Santo venendo il Sabato, giorno della sua Nativita, may also be taken to mean that his birthday was on Saturday, and in that case the awareness could as well be the date, thus producing a birth-date of 7 April 1483." Shearman:573.
  76. ^ Chastel André, Italian Art,p. 230, 1963, Faber
  77. ^ Walter Friedländer, Mannerism and Anti-Mannerism in Italian Painting, p.42 (Schocken 1970 edn.), 1957, Columbia UP
  78. ^ Blunt:76
  79. ^ See Jones & Penny:102-4
  80. ^ The 1772 DiscourseOnline text of Reynold's Discourses The whole passage is worth reading.
  81. ^ Wölfflin:82,
  82. ^ Ruskin, Pre-Raphaelitism, S. 127 online at Project Gutenburg
  83. ^ Berenson, Bernard, Italian Painters of the renaissance, Vol 2 Florentine and Central Italian Schools, Phaidon 1952 (refs to 1968 edn), p.94
  84. ^ For what it is worth, Amazon UK's "Renaissance" top 25 bestsellers list included 5 books with Leonardo in the title, 3 with Michelangelo, and 1 with Raphael. accessed December 6th, 2007. Their US site does not run a comparable list.

Main references

  • Blunt, Anthony, Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-1660, 1940 (refs to 1985 edn), OUP, ISBN 0198810504
  • Gould, Cecil, The Sixteenth Century Italian Schools, National Gallery Catalogues, London 1975, ISBN 0947645225
  • Roger Jones and Nicholas Penny, Raphael, Yale, 1983, ISBN 0300030614
  • Landau, David in:David Landau & Peter Parshall, The Renaissance Print, Yale, 1996, ISBN 0300068832
  • Pon, Lisa, Raphael, Dürer, and Marcantonio Raimondi, Copying and the Italian Renaissance Print, 2004, Yale UP, ISBN 9780300096804
  • Shearman, John; Raphael in Early Modern Sources 1483-1602, 2003, Yale University Press, ISBN 0300099185
  • Vasari, Life of Raphael from the Lives of the Artists, edition used: Artists of the Renaissance selected & ed Malcolm Bull, Penguin 1965 (page nos from BCA edn, 1979)
  • Wölfflin, Heinrich; Classic Art; An Introduction to the Renaissance, 1952 in English (1968 edition), Phaidon, New York.

Further reading

  • The standard source of biographical information is now: V. Golzio, Raffaello nei documenti nelle testimonianze dei contemporanei e nella letturatura del suo secolo, Vatican City and Westmead, 1971
  • Raphael: From Urbino to Rome; Hugo Chapman, Tom Henry, Carol Plazzotta, Arnold Nesselrath, Nicholas Penny, National Gallery Publications Limited, 2004, ISBN 1857099990 (exhibition catalogue)
  • The Cambridge Companion to Raphael, Marcia B. Hall, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 052180809X,
  • Raphael: A Critical Catalogue of His Paintings; Jürg Meyer zur Capellen, Stefan B. Polter, Arcos, 2001, ISBN 3935339003

External links

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

by John Greenleaf Whittier

Suggested by the portrait of Raphael, at the age of fifteen.

I shall not soon forget that sight:
The glow of autumn's westering day,
A hazy warmth, a dreamy light,
On Raphael's picture lay.

It was a simple print I saw,
The fair face of a musing boy;
Yet, while I gazed, a sense of awe
Seemed blending with my joy.

A simple print:--the graceful flow
Of boyhood's soft and wavy hair,
And fresh young lip and cheek, and brow
Unmarked and clear, were there.

Yet through its sweet and calm repose
I saw the inward spirit shine;
It was as if before me rose
The white veil of a shrine.

As if, as Gothland's sage has told,
The hidden life, the man within,
Dissevered from its frame and mould,
By mortal eye were seen.

Was it the lifting of that eye,
The waving of that pictured hand?
Loose as a cloud-wreath on the sky,
I saw the walls expand.

The narrow room had vanished,--space,
Broad, luminous, remained alone,
Through which all hues and shapes of grace
And beauty looked or shone.

Around the mighty master came
The marvels which his pencil wrought,
Those miracles of power whose fame
Is wide as human thought.

There drooped thy more than mortal face,
O Mother, beautiful and mild!
Enfolding in one dear embrace
Thy Saviour and thy Child!

The rapt brow of the Desert John;
The awful glory of that day
When all the Father's brightness shone
Through manhood's veil of clay.

And, midst gray prophet forms, and wild
Dark visions of the days of old,
How sweetly woman's beauty smiled
Through locks of brown and gold!

There Fornarina's fair young face
Once more upon her lover shone,
Whose model of an angel's grace
He borrowed from her own.

Slow passed that vision from my view,
But not the lesson which it taught;
The soft, calm shadows which it threw
Still rested on my thought

The truth, that painter, bard, and sage,
Even in Earth's cold and changeful clime,
Plant for their deathless heritage
The fruits and flowers of time.

We shape ourselves the joy or fear
Of which the coming life is made,
And fill our Future's atmosphere
With sunshine or with shade.

The tissue of the Life to be
We weave with colors all our own,
And in the field of Destiny
We reap as we have sown.

Still shall the soul around it call
The shadows which it gathered here,
And, painted on the eternal wall,
The Past shall reappear.

Think ye the notes of holy song
On Milton's tuneful ear have died?
Think ye that Raphael's angel throng
Has vanished from his side?

O no!--We live our life again
Or warmly touched, or coldly dim,
The pictures of the Past remain,--
Man's works shall follow him!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

RAPHAEL (Hebrew ',tin, " God heals"), an angel who in human disguise and under the name of Azarias ("Yahweh helps") accompanies Tobias in his adventurous journey and conquers the demon Asmodaeus (Book of Tobit). He is said (Tob. xii. 15) to be "one of the seven holy angels [archangels] which present the prayers of the saints and go in before the glory of the Holy One." In the Book of Enoch (c. xx.) Raphael is "the angel of the spirits of men," and it is his business to "heal the earth which the angels have defiled." In later Midrash Raphael appears as the angel commissioned to put down the evil spirits that vexed the sons of Noah with plagues and sicknesses after the Flood, and he it was who taught men the use of simples and furnished materials for the "Book of Noah," the earliest treatise on materia medica.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Raphaël




Hebrew "God cures" or "God has healed".

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. An archangel in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
  2. A male given name.
  3. A patronymic surname.
  4. An Italian Renaissance painter.





Proper noun


  1. (Biblical) Raphael.
  2. A male given name. Alternative spelling: Rafael.

Related terms

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

One of the archangels. The word occurs as a personal name in 1Chr 26:7 (A. V. and R. V. "Rephael"), but it is not found as the name of an angel in the canonical books, as are the names of Michael and Gabriel. This must be due to chance, however, since Raphael is an important figure in the pre-Christian Apocrypha, while from the fact that he ranks immediately below the two angels just mentioned it may be concluded that he appeared in Jewish angelology shortly after them. The late Midrash Konen (Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 27) states that he was once called Labiel, but there is no evidence in support of this statement.

One of the Seven Archangels.

Raphael is one of the seven archangels who bring prayers before God (Tob 12:15), although he was not one of the six who buried Moses (Targ. Yer. Deut 34:6). In Enoch 201-7 he is the second among the six or seven angels, Michael, as the most prominent, being placed in the Middle (see Angelology); yet in a papyrus devoted to magic, in which the seven archangels appear, Raphael ranks second, immediately after Michael (Wessely, "Griechischer Zauberpapyrus," ii. 65, line 38). In the same place Suriel is mentioned as the fourth angel, and in a gnostic diagram cited by Origen ("Contra Celsum," vi. 30) Suriel is also reckoned as one of the seven, together with Raphael; this refutes Kohut's theory ("Angelologie," p. 35) of the identity of the two (see Lüken, "Michael," p. 7, Göttingen, 1898). In the lists of planetary angels given in the Jewish calendar, Raphael presides over the sun and over Sunday (ib. p. 56).

The four angels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel appear much more often in works of Jewish mysticism. From heaven they behold all the bloodshed on earth and bring the laments of souls before the Lord (Enoch 91-3). From out of the darkness they lead souls to God (Sibyllines, ii. 214 et seq.). They are the four angels of the Presence, and stand on the four sides of the Lord, whom they glorify (Enoch, xl., where the fourth angel is Phanuel). Each has his own host of angels for the praising of God, around the four sides of whose throne are the four groups of angels. In accordance with their position in heaven, they are the four leaders of the camp of Israel in the wilderness: Michael on theeast, opposite the tribe of Levi; Raphael on the west, opposite Ephraim; Gabriel on the south, facing Reuben and Judah; Uriel on the north, facing Dan (Pirḳe R. El. iv.; Hekalot R. vi., in Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 39, 43; Pesiḳ. R. 46 [ed. Friedmann, p. 188a]; Num R. ii. 10).

In like manner, the four rivers of paradise are divided among these four angels ("Seder Gan 'Eden," in Jellinek, "B. H." iii. 138). The magic papyrus also names the four angels (Wessely, l.c. ii. 70 et seq.), and accordingly, on page 41, line 641, where the names of Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel are plainly legible, the letters missing after καιυ must be supplied so as to read καὶ Ουρίηλ. Schwab ("Vocabulaire de l'Angélologie," p. 10) cites an exorcism by these "holy angels," who, as the most august, according to the apocryphal fragments of Bartolomæus, were created first (Lüken, l.c. p. 114).

Raphael, like every other angel, can assume any form he will (Tobit); a tablet on his breast bears the name of God (Pesiḳ. R. 108b); according to the Zohar, he is the chief of the "ofannim." A realization of the foreign character of this angel is inferred in the statement of Simeon ben Laüish (in 250 C.E.) to the effect that the names of the angels originated in Babylon, meaning among the Parthians who ruled there (Gen. R. xlviii. 9). Raphael, as his name implies, is the angel of healing diseases and wounds (Enoch 909); he overcomes Asmodeus, the evil spirit (Tob 5:4ff; Tob 9:1ff; Tob 11:1ff; Testament of Solomon, in "J. Q. R." 1898, p. 24); he binds even Azazel, and throws him into a pit (Enoch 104). He cures blindness (Tobit l.c.; Midrash of the Ten Commandments, in Jellinek, "B. H." i. 80), and because of his healing powers he is represented as a serpent (Origen, l.c.). Raphael, as the third in rank, appeared with Michael and Gabriel to cure Abraham (Yoma 37a; B. M. 86b; Gen. R. xlviii. 10). He cures also moral evil (Pasiḳ. R. 46 [ed. Friedmann, p. 188a]).

Raphael in Christian Theology.

Raphael was a favorite figure in Christian as well as in Jewish angelology, and early Christian amulets, encolpions, tombstones, and other monuments have been found bearing the names of the angels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (Lüken, l.c. p. 119). A small, gold tablet discovered in the grave of Maria, the wife of the emperor Honorius, bears a similar inscription (Kopp, "Paleographia Critica," iii., § 158; comp. Lüken, l.c. pp. 118, 122). The names of the same angels occur on Basilidian gems, and Origen likewise mentions them (Lüken, l.c. pp. 60, 68), although in the magic papyri Raphael appears chiefly in the formulas for amulets.

In post-Talmudic mysticism Raphael preserves his importance, and is himself described as using Gemaṭria (Zohar, iii. 133, 228, 262; Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 27, 39, 43, et al.; Schwab, l.c. p. 249; Yalḳ., Ḥadash, ed. Presburg, p. 67a et al.). His name occurs in Judæo-Babylonian conjuring texts (Stübe, p. 27), and is conspicuous in the liturgy—as in the evening prayer, where he is mentioned together with the three other angels, at whose head stands God, exactly as in the Christian version of Zechariah vi. (Lüken, l.c. p. 122). He is mentioned also in association with various ofannim (Zunz, "S. P." p. 479), evidently being regarded as their head. Naturally, his name appears on amulets intended to prevent or cure diseases (Grunwald, "Mittheilungen," v. 77). See Angelology; Gabriel; Michael.

Bibliography: Hamburger, R. B. T. ii. 96; Hastings, Diet. Bible; Kohut, Jüdische Angelologic, pp. 35 et seq., Leipsic, 1866; W. Lüken, Michael, Göttingen, 1898; Riehm, Bibl. Handwörterbuch; M. Schwab, Vocabulaire de l'Angélologie, pp. 10, 249, 345, Paris, 1897; C. Wessely, Griechischer Zauberpayrus, Vienna, 1888; idem, Neue Griechische Zauberpapyri, ib. 1893.

Footnote 1: While this inestimably powerful archangel has been consistently and definitively observed in his role of one of God's healing ministers, Rapha� El (literally "it is God who heals"), like all archangels and angels, acts within the perfect will of God as expressed in Chapter 12 of the Gospel of Mark, also known as the Divine law or command. He is one of seven archangels of the eternal throne, each having equal rank and authority in ensuring God's will, i.e. the collective and individual salvation of mankind, is accomplished.

Footnote 2: Archangels and angels easily move between the physical and spiritual and exercise authority over body, soul and spirit realms in the execution of God's righteous will in accordance with the divine law (see footnote 1). Archangels may speak and work through anointed human ministers of God or in their own capacity.

Footnote 3: In contrast with the angels, rebellious or fallen angels (commonly referred to as demons) act by subverting the will of God (see footnote 1 and 2) the aim being to weaken and destroy mankind by distancing them from the Creator in the abyss (the first death) and in hell (the second death). The authority of Ha'satan and his followers is limited to that to which the glory of God cannot be ascribed. They speak and work through persons rejecting works of salvific grace, including healing.

Footnote 4: Many Christians and some Jews believe that the coming of Jesus was prophesised in Isaiah chapter 53, verse 3. While the birth, death, resurrection and glorification of the Lord delineates the exact boundaries of God's will for the individual believer (the Divine law), there is as yet no broad agreement as to how collective salvation is to be administered on earth, inevitably drawing parallels with the Babylonian period of Jewish history.

Footnote 5: The earthly ministry of Jesus differed from that of traditional Israelite leaders being marked by the continuous attendance of archangels. By contrast, Moses and Elijah struggled to justify the angelic presence and access to the eternal throne was tenuous. Whereas Jesus heals through His own volition, under Moses healing took place when God�s plan of redemption through the Israelites was threatened through disobedience. While Rapha' El appears to be the given name of the angel that healed the Israelites in the desert, any references that indeed deny "it is God who heals" is a misrepresentation of God's healing intention as found in Acts chapter 7, verse 40 and 42: 'They told Aaron, 'make us gods who will go before us'[...] so [...] God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies (see footnote 6)'.

Footnote 6: While Rapha' El brings the healing of God to mankind, the reciprocal act of worship must be directed to God alone. In Amos Chapter 5 verses 25 to 27 the Lord warns against misdirection of the holy act of adoration. 'Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship'.

Footnote 7: The Divine law therefore, is promulgated by the ministry of angels and archangels (see footnote 2) and by the temporal authority established during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus, and through the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit on earth. The reference to Isaiah chapter 63 verse 9 seals the role of the archangel 'In all their affliction [...] the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old'

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
This article needs to be merged with Raphael (Catholic Encyclopedia).
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Simple English

Self-portrait by Raphael.

Raffaello Sanzio, usually known as Raphael (April 6, 1483 - April 6, 1520) was a Renaissance painter and architect. With Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, he is one of the greatest painters of the High Renaissance.

He is best known for his paintings of the Madonna and Christ Child and for his paintings in the Vatican in Rome, Italy.



Raphael was born in Urbino, in the region of Umbria, Italy. He was the son of Giovanni Santi (d. 1494), who was also a painter, and Magia di Battista Ciarla (d. 1491). Giovanni Santi was Raphael's first teacher, but he died when Raphael was only eleven.

Perugino was Raphael's teacher. This is his self-portrait.

While about 15, Raphael became an apprentice at the workshop of the painter Pietro Perugino, called by that name because he was the most famous painter in the town of Perugia. Perugino was famous, not only in Umbria, but also in Rome and in Florence, the home of Leonardo and Michelangelo. He had been one of the artists given the important job of painting the Pope's large chapel in the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel.

Perugino was known to have expert ways of painting (technique), and was good at getting paintings finished on time which made him popular with his patrons. He painted some portraits, but most of his pictures are religious. Some of his paintings are small pictures of the Madonna and Child that could be used in a family chapel for private worship. But because he was famous, Perugino also got lots of work from wealthy patrons and from churches, so he painted many very large pieces to go above the altar in church. To do this, he needed the help of his apprentices.

Raphael was able to learn a great deal from Perugino - drawing, the anatomy of the human figure, paint chemistry and the technique of putting the paint onto the picture in smooth layers. The figures in Perugino's paintings often have very sweet gentle faces. Many of Raphael's paintings are also sweet and gentle. Some painters, such as Leonardo, were quick to change their style and make their paintings show their own touch. But Raphael continued to paint in the style that Perugino taught him. He added to this new ideas that he learnt by looking at the work of other artists. Unlike Leonardo and Michelangelo, Raphael did not give the world anything new in the Art of Painting. He is famous simply because he was so expert at what he did, and because people loved his paintings so much.

First Works

The painting that is thought to be his earliest known work is a small picture called The Vision of a Knight. In this painting a knight lies asleep. In his dream there are two beautiful women. One woman, dressed in soft flowing clothes, offers him flowers. The other woman, dressed in dark clothing, offers the knight a sword and a book. The path behind the pretty woman runs beside a river. The other path leads up a steep mountain. Raphael was thinking about choices. Should the knight take the easy road, or should he try to change things?

Other early pictures by Raphael are Three Graces, and Saint Michael.

Raphael's first major work was The Marriage of the Virgin which was painted in 1504. It was influenced by Perugino's painting for the Sistine Chapel of Jesus giving the Keys to Saint Peter. It is now in the Brera Gallery in Milan, Italy.


Madonna of the Grand Duke.

In about 1504 Raphael went with another painter, Pinturicchio, to Florence, Italy. Florence was famous for its artworks, its artist's workshops, its new Renaissance buildings and its huge cathedral. Raphael wanted to see the work of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and other important painters and sculptors.

The Madonnas

Florence had a very strong tradition of making images of the Madonna and Child because the city was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On almost every street corner there was a painting or a brightly-coloured statue of the Madonna and Child.[1]

While he was in Florence, Raphael painted many of his famous Madonna paintings. The most famous of these paintings are:

[[File:|thumb|left|Raphael's portrait of Pope Julius II]]


In 1508 Raphael was called to Rome by Pope Julius II. He became so popular whilst he was in Rome that he was known as the "Prince of Painters". He spent the last 12 years of his life in Rome and created many of his most famous paintings.

While he was in Rome he was commissioned (given a job), to paint a fresco of the Prophet Isaiah in the Church of Sant'Agostino. While he was working on the painting, he went to visit his friend, the architect, Donato Bramante. Bramante was at the Vatican while Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Of course Raphael wanted to see what the famous master was doing. While Michelangelo was away, Bramante took Raphael into the Chapel. When Raphael saw the way that Michelangelo had painted the prophets, he was so excited that he went back to Sant'Agostino's Church, scraped his painting off the wall and started all over again. It is easy to see that Raphael's painting is in the style of Michelangelo. Raphael was not ashamed of this. He did it to give honour to the great master. [2]

The Stanze

[[File:|thumb|Detail from The School of Athens.]] Among Raphael's most famous paintings are the frescos that are painted on the walls of Julius II's own rooms in the Vatican Palace, known as the Stanze. The paintings in the Stanza della Segnatura and the Stanza d'Eliodoro were created by Raphael himself, whilst the Stanza dell'Incendio was designed by Raphael and painted by his assistants.

One of the frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura is of the greatest importance. This painting is called The School of Athens. It shows a group of learned people from Ancient Greece, philosophers, poets, dramatists, mathematicians and others. They are listening to the central figure, who is the philosopher, Plato. The painting is meant to show that at that time, the early 1500s, there was a new birth of ideas and learning among the people of Rome that was equal to the learning of Ancient Athens.

To make this message clear, Raphael used the faces of the people that he knew. Michelangelo, with his broken nose, is sitting with his chin on his hand. The tall figure of Plato with long hair and flowing beard is a portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.

One of the excellent things about this painting is the way that Raphael has painted the building in which the figures are standing. The architecture looks as if it is opening up from the real room.

Raphael's last painting, the Transfiguration.


In the 1500s, painters were often asked to design architecture. Raphael's first work as an architect was the funeral chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. Pope Leo X also chose Raphael to help design Saint Peter's Basilica alongside Donato Bramante. After Bramante died, Raphael took over the designing of the basilica and changed its groundplan from a Greek Cross to a Latin Cross. Michelangelo went back to Bramante's plan but made it simpler. Then another architect, Maderna, made the building longer, as Raphael had planned.

The Transfiguration

Raphael's last work of art was a painting of the Transfiguration. This was an altarpiece, but Raphael died before he could complete it. It was instead finished by Giulio Romano, who was one of Raphael's assistants.


Raphael died on his 37th birthday and was buried in the Pantheon in Rome. His funeral mass was celebrated at the Vatican and his Transfiguration altarpiece was put at the head of Raphael's funeral carriage.

Other pages


  1. Many of them were made in fired clay, terracotta, by the family of Luca della Robbia (1399-1482).
  2. Vasari
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