Raphael, full name Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, was a painter and architect of the Italian High Renaissance. He was called the Big Three of the High Renaissance, along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Lived only 37 years, Raphael was a very prolific artist and held a studio with 50 students and assistants. His works are typically divided into three phases: his early career, which reflected the influence of his teacher; the Florentine era, during which Raphael spent four years in the city; and his last years, during which he created his finest works.
On April 5, 1483, Raphael was born into a wealthy merchant family from Urbino and Colbordolo in the Marche Region. His father was a court painter and provided Raphael's early artistic training. When Raphael was eight years old, his father made arrangements for him to be housed at the Italian Renaissance painter Pietro Perugino's workshop to paint. At the workshop, Raphael showed his talent and started to receive some important commissions. His works during this period include The Marriage of the Virgin and Coronation of the Virgin. He moved to Florence in 1504 and painted many Madonnas, which shows the influence of Leonardo da Vinci, especially his use of chiaroscuro and sfumato, as well as his novel composition and gesture.
In 1508, invited by Pope Julius II, Raphael went to Rome and spent the rest of his life there. He earned the title "Prince of Painters" at this time. Raphael began remodeling Pope Julius II's personal library at the Vatican in 1510. This was the most significant commission he had ever received, solidifying his position as the top painter in the Medici Court. There were a total of four frescoes: one each for the subjects of religion, law, philosophy and poetry. The School of Athens, which symbolizes philosophy, is the most well-known one. During this time, he met his most important patron outside the church, Agostino Chigi, who gave him many architectural commissions.
Late Years and Death
After Pope Julius II died in 1513, Raphael received even more commissions from Popo Leo X, the elected pope after Pope Julius II died and was also Raphael's long-time friend. His works for Pope Leo X include Portrait of Pope Leo X. Raphael never married in his life, his most famous relationship was with Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker, and he painted a portrait of her, La Fornarina.
On April 6, 1520, Raphael died presumably due to illness. His funeral was very big, and many people attended it.