Rafael Sanzio was one of the most famous artists of the Renaissance along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. There were three main artistic periods in his life; first was his youth in Urbino, from 1483-1504; second his Florentine period from 1504-1508, when he, Leonardo and Michelangelo were all living in the same city; third his life in Rome, from 1508-1520, in which much of his work was commissioned by the Pope. Raphael’s style was typical of the Renaissance, with emphasis on light, balance, clarity, order, and depth.
Raphael Sanzio was born in Urbino, Italy on either March 28th, or April 6th 1483 to Magia Di Battista Ciarla and Giovanni Santi. His father Giovanni was a court painter to the Duke of Urbino. Both of Raphael’s parents died by the time he was 11. However, his father had already arranged that Raphael become an apprentice to Pietro Perugino. Raphael absorbed a huge amount from Perugino, and used many of the techniques that he learned from his teacher throughout his lifetime.
Raphael completed his training with Perugino around 1501, and traveled around northern Italy for three years until moving to Florence, “the Center of the Renaissance” in 1504. There he was exposed to many different styles, including Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s. Leonardo’s art struck young Raphael, and it was noticeable in his own artwork made during that period. It was also during this time that a mutual dislike arose between Raphael and Michelangelo, which would continue for the rest of their lives. One odd fancy of Raphael’s while in Florence was drawings of naked, fighting, men. Although he made dozens of them, they never evolved to become full paintings, and left no other visible effects upon his body of work.
In 1508 Raphael moved to Rome and in 1510 was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the Pope’s personal library. Within this Library Raphael painted four frescos, each symbolizing a virtue of Classicism. Those virtues were philosophy, law, poetry, and theology. In the picture to the right are two of these paintings. On the left is The Parnassus, depicting Apollo and the muses, symbolizing poetry, and on the right is The School of Athens, depicting ancient Greek and Romans philosophers and thinkers, symbolizing philosophy. Although Pope Julius II died during this project, it was continued by the next pope, Pope Leo X, who became great friends with Raphael. Raphael died prematurely in 1520, aged just 37. He was never married, but he was engaged to Maria Bibbiena from 1614 till her death in 1520. Some historians believe that his resistance to marriage was because of his desire to possibly become a cardinal, while it is possible that it was because he never loved Bibbiena. Raphael was buried in the Pantheon in Rome.
The Triumph of Galatea, painted in 1514, was the only one of Raphael’s works that was based on ancient mythology. Galatea was, according to Greek mythology, a sea nymph who was in love with Akis, a shepherd. Unfortunately for...