The Work of Raphael

Popularly known as Raphael, one of the foremost architects and painters of the Italian Renaissance Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino’s work has been recognised as the standard against which the masters who followed him were judged and his visions of divinity are still part of our collective perception of biblical events and figures.  Raphael practiced in Florence and Rome during the high renaissance and left an indelible mark on both cities.  Though clearly influenced by the work of Leonardo, Botticelli and Michelangelo, Raphael’s idealised figures had features unique to his own vision of the deities he eventually had opportunity to depict.  After modest commissions for portraits of the middle-class as a young man, Raphael developed a model that was life-like yet poetic.  Now ironic emblems of advertising, kitch symbols of perfection and traditionalism, his theatrical narratives still communicate a naturalism and humanism that touches his audience in a way that his predecessors had not managed before.  A true embodiment of the spirit of productivity and diversity during the Renaissance, he completed his greatest works of art, architecture, sculpture and archeology during just 12 years in Rome.  Recognised and revered for his clarity of form and dynamic ease of composition, Raphael painted his subjects as heroes of intellectualism elevating human beings as just ideals of grandeur.  Much of his work remains in the Vatican Palace where his frescos in the ‘Raphael rooms’ are preserved as the high point of his career.  Truly burning brighter than his contemporaries, Raphael died at only 37 after having completed some of the most recognisable work ever produced in European history.

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