Posted: January 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

At the height of the Renaissance, a young man would rise to be celebrated forever more for the perfection and grace of his paintings and drawings. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known to us simply as Raphael, was one of the finest draftsmen in the history of Western art, and used drawings extensively to plan his compositions.

In his work as painter, architect and printmaker, Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and despite his death at thirty-seven in 1520, a large body of his work remains.

The Sistine Madonna and The Triumph of Galatea.

Raphael’s self-portrait with friend and the Canigiani Holy Family.

Raphael had become so famous that Pope Julius II commissioned him to decorate his chambers at the Vatican. There were already other artists’ paintings on the walls, but the Pope ordered Raphael to plaster over them to make room for his own creation: The School of Athens. The picture has long been seen as “Raphael’s masterpiece”. He was 25 years old at the time.

Nephew of the architect Bramante, Raphael was appointed architect of St. Peter’s Basilica after the death of his uncle in 1514. 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. He also designed other buildings such as the Palazzo dell’Aquila, which was completely destroyed to make way for the piazza for St. Peter’s, but drawings of the façade and courtyard remain. The façade’s decoration was exquisite, even for the period, including both painted panels on the top story, and featuring many plaster sculptures in the middle part.


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