Raphael

Art in the Renaissance

By: Neelam Sandhu

Biography

  • Raphael was born on April 6, 1483 in Urbino, Italy, and died in 1520 (age 37).
  • Originally named Raffaello Sanzio
  • He was a renowned High Renaissance painter and architect.
  • His father, Giovanni Santi, was his mentor and was said to have influenced Raphael's early paintings. Giovanni was a court painter to the Duke. He died when Raphael was only eleven years old. Raphael's mother had passed away much earlier in his life.
  • For a brief time, Raphael was an orphan.
  • He was taken in by his uncle, a priest.
  • He spent a lot of his early life working as a painter in a workshop in Urbino. He received most of his art education here, but continued to learn as time went on.
  • Many of his influential paintings were created while he lived in Florence for a great deal of time (1504-1508). He spent a great deal of his time in Florence and Rome.

Art

  • Raphael was known for his paintings of Madonnas and compositions in the Vatican. He also worked on many portraits.
  • Most of his masterpieces were oil paintings and frescos. Some of his more famous works include his Self-Portrait, Madonna and Child, The Three Graces, The School of Athens, Cherubini, and La Donna Velata.
  • Raphael often includes Individualism in his paintings, in which the people in the piece are all unique and different. They are often depicted alone, resembling the fact that all people are special and have their own purpose and talents, an important philosophy from the Renaissance age.
  • Raphael also included Scientific Naturalism and Humanism in his works. He used linear perspective in his paintings, and painted everything based on proportion and realistic portrayal. His pieces combined religion with the great potential of mankind. This is best shown when comparing The School of Athens to Madonna and Child.
  • Raphael's most notable patron was Pope Julius II, which explains why many of his works were on display in the Vatican.


Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn

  • This work is called Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn
  • It was created in 1506
  • It is currently located in the Galleria Borghese in Rome.
  • It was said to be inspired by da Vinci's Mona Lisa. The subject of the painting was Saint Catherine of Alexandria, and she was pictured with a unicorn to symbolize her purity. The unicorn during the Renaissance was also a symbol of chastity and conjugal fidelity. The painting was a gift to Saint Catherine and her new husband.
  • I find the piece to be very pretty and incredibly detailed. I love how Raphael contoured her face with a darker color, creating a more dimension to her face and a more realistic appearance. Also, I like the unicorn addition in the painting, it is very unique.
  • This painting is a good example of Individualism. Saint Catherine is pictured alone, and is depicted as beautiful, wealthy, and pure. She is the main focus of the portrait, stressing her uniqueness and importance as an individual.
  • The portrait also includes Scientific Naturalism. The woman and the unicorn's features are very realistic. All of the details in the picture are meant to create a more realistic portrayal of the natural world.
  • Raphael incorporated Humanism into his work. Catherine, the subject, is depicted as beautiful and wealthy. Her attire is that of a woman with high status, and her jewelry supports this. She is seen with a unicorn, symbolizing her purity and chastity. The woman is glorified and the work focuses on the lady's own achievements and class.
  • Secularism is also seen in the picture. Although the woman is a saint, no direct religious reference can be seen in the piece. Her jewelry and dress show her concern with material goods and leisure rather than religion. Also, her dress is seemingly low-cut, which is frowned upon by the church.
  • A final "ism" pictured is Classicism. Greek-inspired columns are painted near the outer edges of the picture, showing the interest in classic architecture.


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Bibliography

"Raphael." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.


Raphael. La Donna Velata. 1512-1513. Galleria Palatina, n.p.


"Raphael." Merriam Webster's Biographical Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1995. Biography in Context. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.


Raphael. Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn. 1506. Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy.


Raphael. The School of Athens. 1510-1512. N.p.


Raphael. Self Portrait. 1509. Uffizi Gallery, n.p.


Raphael. Three Graces. 1502-1503. Musée Condé, n.p.


ROWLAND, INGRID. "Raphael." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. Ed. Jonathan Dewald. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004.Biography in Context. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.