1483 - 1520

Raphael's Madonna with Christ and St. John the Baptist


Raphael was one of the greatest and most popular artists of all time.


Raphael was born on April 6, 1483, as Raffaello Sanzio. He was born in Urbino. Raphael was said to be unusually handsome, pensive and fair. Raphael had born talent and received early training in art from his father, Giovanni Santi. He also learned new techniques from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Beauty and serenity were his great emotional themes.

In 1499 he went to Perugia in Urbino and became a student and assistant of painter, Perugino. Around 1508-09 he was 25 and called to Rome by Pope Julius II to direct the decoration of the state rooms in the Vatican Palace. In 1509 he was hard at work on a suite of papal apartments. In Rome, in 1515, Raphael became the first Superintendent of Antiquities. In 1515-16 he painted ten large water color scales. He found the cultural and intellectual climate very exciting in Rome.

Raphael died on his thirty-seventh birthday, April 6, 1520, and was buried in the Pantheon amidst universal mourning and acclaim.


Raphael painted the Madonna dell Granduca, The Small Cowper Madonna, and The Alba Madonna. He painted Stanza dell Incendio and the four large-scale paintings were Marriage of the Virgin, Sposalizio, The Crucified Christ with Virgin Mary and Saints and Angels. He painted a portrait of The Courtier and author Baldassare Castiglione in 1515. In the Vatican Palace his first room he completed was the so-called Stanza della Signatura (Room of the Signature). In the Vatican Palace he had the opportunity to apply his classical art on a grand scale.

Raphael had great interest in portraiture and he was a classical perfectionist. He painted pictures using oil on wood. He studied the work of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Fra Bart Domneo. Raphael learned the play of light and shade, anatony and dramatic action. Raphael executed a number of easel paintings. In 1514 Raphael was made chief architect of Saint Peter's Basilica. A year later he was appointed director of all excavations of antiquities in and near Rome.


Raphael was known as the genius of high Renaissance painters. He was the greatest designer of the Renaissance. Raphael influenced painters up to the 1900's. He made people think of personality when they looked at his paintings. Raphael put realistic emotions on to paintings. He changed the way people look at art. Raphael painted life. He was thought to be one of the most detailed painters of all portraitists. He also changed the way people thought of the Holy Madonna. He painted emotional themes. Raphael changed the art world.

Raphael (self-portrait)


1. Cumming, Robert. Annotated Art. Westmount, The Reader's Digest Association, 1995, pp. 32-33.

2. Engel, Dr. Martin. The Renaissance. Pleasantville, Warren Schloat Proucti, Inc., 1960, pp. 32-33.

3. Gerten, Carol Jackson. Fine Arts. [Cjackson/raphael-bio.htm]. Mirrors, 1996, p. 2.

4. Gerten, Carol Jackson. [Cjackson/raphael-bio.htm]. "Raphael(1483-1520)." 1996.

5. Playfair, D.V. The High Renaissance, Wakefield, Eductional Productions Ltd., 1970. pp. 4-5.

This page was prepared by: Melanie and Leah, Grade 8, Riverdale Junior Secondary School.