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Raphael (1483–1520)


Raphael Sanzio was a highly accomplished artist, but his easy personality and ability to get the job done without fuss greatly helped his success. He had neither Leonardo’s cleverness nor Michaelangelo’s powerful drive, but he absorbed the influence of these older artists and brought their techniques together in his own classical, serene and long-lasting style.


Characteristics of Raphael’s work were:


* Perfectly balanced and harmonious compositions * Noble and ideal figures that move in a calm and dignified manner


* Humanistic ideals of the High Renaissance in which the beautiful and perfect man lives in


harmony with the world Early life


Raphael’s father was a man of culture at the court of Urbino. He introduced the boy to painting, artistic ideas and humanist philosophy.


When his father died he worked as an assistant to the artist Perugino. He gained extensive professional knowledge there.


He arrived in Rome in 1504 and almost immediately came to the attention of Pope Julius II.


The young artist’s talents were also recognised by his successor, Leo X. Unfortunately, Raphael’s career was cut short as he died on his 37th birthday.


Influences Perugino


Raphael quickly mastered Perugino’s sweet and gentle style. In fact, their painting styles are so similar that it can be difficult to tell the artists’ work apart (Fig. 22.23 and Fig. 22.24).


Images of the Madonna


Raphael adopted Leonardo’s pyramidal compositions and painterly techniques. From Michelangelo, he learned to study antiquities and he included lively figures in contrapposto poses.


He is, however, probably best known for his many images of the Madonna.


Fig. 22.23 (left)


Marriage of Our Lady, 1500–4, by Perugino, oil on wood, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen


Fig. 22.24 (right)


Marriage of Our Lady, 1504, by Raphael, oil on roundheaded panel, 170cm x 117cm, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan


CHAPTER 22: A GOLDEN AGE


273


EUROPEAN ART


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