Raphael - Extensive biography of the artist's career with a gallery of his most famous paintings
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael) was a key figure in the Renaissance art movement, alongside fellow masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo
This website covers the career of this famous Italian painter whose career came towards the end of the influential period of the High Renaissance. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino was the full name of this artist who became remembered as a truly academic artist who strongly divided opinion for those who followed on after his career. This website looks into the life and works of Raphael and offers images of his best paintings.
Raphael was held in such high regard that he is mentioned in the same breath as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo who were the finest Renaissance artists of all, and Raphael played his own part in this crucial development of art which came towards the end of the Renaissance era. The Italian Renaissance would spread to Northern Europe and take in the likes of Pieter Bruegel, Albrecht Durer and Hieronymus Bosch.
Raphael passed away at the age of 37 in 1520 and it was then that the new art movements started to appear, offering new directions which went against the traditional academic style of Raphael. Raphael paintings are wide ranging in topic, though most addressed religious themes. Vatican Stanza della Segnatura holds the most famous Raphael work of all, namely The School of Athens. You can see that complex and inspiring painting above alongside links to where you can buy your own reproduction copies as framed giclee art prints, posters or stretched canvases.
The reputation of the three great Renaissance artists, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael (see also Sandro Botticelli), have varied over the past few centuries with different generations finding more inspiration from one rather than another. It was during the 18th and 19th centuries that the more regimented approach of Raphael was preferred and most saw his classically correct approach as the best way to go for all new artists interested in this type of art.
Raphael is best remembered for his religious depictions but there were also many impressive portraits which came around the start of the 16th century. The best included his portraits of Elisabetta Gonzaga, Pope Julius II, Bindo Altoviti and Baldassare Castiglione. Besides his paintings there were also a huge number of stylish preparatory sketches, some of which we have included here in this website. Baroque art movements followed on closely after the career of Raphael and they were keen to bring very different ideas into the art world, quickly brushing aside the academically taught methods of artists like Raphael.
Famous artists from the Baroque movement to have likely been influenced by the three great Renaissance masters included Diego Velazquez, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Rembrandt and Rubens. In the modern day most artists have found a place in art history and can be fairly compared with each other, regardless of personal taste which is now far more varied and inclusive.
School of Athens
St Michael Overwhelming the Demon
St Michael Overwhelming the Demon can be seen above and is another fine work from Raphael. Despite the short life of this artist he still managed to produce a huge number of works that have since been accurately attributed to him, thanks in part to a huge studio in which he would work long hours for many years right up to his death. Raphael himself was born in Urbino but over the course of his career became more and more influenced by the artistic developments within Florence.
Sistine Madonna is a classic topic from Renaissance art found commonly in all the major artists' work of this time and Raphael was no different to this, with a large selection of art works covering this including different art mediums such as oil paintings and pencil drawings, always within the same classically trained techniques of this academically acclaimed artist.
La Fornarina is another important painting which shows the artist's mistress as a nude model. With so many centuries have passed since his short career passed by, there is relatively little information available on this woman, making this painting particularly important and something from which a lot of research on her has been drawn. It is also a very rare nude portrait for Raphael, certainly one of the very few that he ever did.
Madonna Del Granduca
Madonna Del Granduca is a key religious art work by Raphael and you can see that above, along with several other paintings based on Madonna through this website. The fans of Raphael typically choose reproductions of his original works in the forms of framed giclee art prints which accurately recreate his own colours and also offer the clearest detail.
List of Famous Raphael Paintings
Please see below for a summarised list of the best Raphael paintings that are featured throughout this website.