Interesting Facts About Raphael Sanzio

Interesting Facts About Raphael Sanzio

Raffaello Sanzio di Urbino left an illustrious legacy behind him. He traveled quickly from Urbino to Florence, the epicenter of the Renaissance, before being invited to Rome, in which he would remain the remaining years. He would make a sensation in Rome, captivating his clientele and securing commissions all around the city.


Raphael, who was he?

Raphael was born Raffaello Sanzio in Urbino, Italy, on April 6, 1483. And was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance.

What made Raphael so special?

Raphael was a brilliant painter during the Italian Renaissance. His art is praised for its visual realization of the Neoplatonic extension of human grandeur, as well as its purity of form and ease of composition. During his lifespan, he was also a well-known architect.

Raphael's most famous work?

Madonna in the Meadow (1505/06), School of Athens (c. 1508–11), Sistine Madonna (1512/13), The Transfiguration (1516–20), and Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (c. 1514–15) are among Raphael's most famous works.


He is regarded as a master of the high renaissance.

Raphael's fame was already established during his life and only grew after his death. His accomplishments in the evolution of art were instantly recognized, and he is currently regarded as one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance, alongside Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

He was praised for his versatility as an artist, excelling in history painting, sacred painting, and portraiture. His skill of structure and color is still influencing artists today.

He grew up in a culturally rich environment.

When we consider the Italian Renaissance, we think of famous cities like Florence and Venice. However, thanks to minor courts, several cities throughout Italy flourished as creative hubs.

This is especially evident at Urbino, Raphael's hometown, in which the mercenary duke Federico da Montefeltro ruled from 1444 until 1482. Although Montefeltro died before Raphael was born, his heir, Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, and his wife, Elisabetta Gonzaga, would continue his legacy throughout Raphael's childhood.


His father was an artist who worked as a painter.

Raphael was a born artist. Giovanni Santi, Raphael's father, was a court artist in Raphael's birthplace. As a result, Raphael was most likely exposed to the court during his formative years. Santi produced altarpieces and portraits for Urbino's palace, but he died when Raphael was 11 years old.

His mother died when he was only eight years old, leaving him an orphan. Raphael was probably too young to have learned much of his creative technique from his father, but he did have a strong passion for the arts and philosophy at a young age.

His teacher was an early Renaissance master.

Raphael had been considered a thoroughly trained artist by the age of 17, but he wasn't ready to open his own studio. Instead, he took the traditional route for painters at the time and worked as an assistant in a well-established studio.

In Raphael's case, this involved moving to Perugia and starting to work for one of the early Renaissance's greatest masters, Pietro Perugino. Perugino was an early practitioner of oil painting, and he achieved success painting the walls of the Sistine Chapel for Pope Sixtus IV.

Raphael's early style was very similar to Perugino's, but he quickly outstripped his teacher. In reality, Pope Julius II commissioned Perugino to paint the verse of the incendio del borgo in the Vatican. However, he was quickly replaced by Raphael, the pope's favored style. This decision would have a substantial impact on Raphael's career, as that room is now part of the Raphael rooms, which also include the famous School of Athens.


His rival was Michelangelo.

When Raphael came in Rome in 1508, Michelangelo had already spent three years working for Pope Julius II. Michelangelo, eight years Raphael's senior and well-established in his career, found himself laboring next door to the youthful upstart. Raphael was promptly assigned to the pope's library in the stanza della segnatura, which was the largest contract of his career.

Simultaneously, Michelangelo was busy working on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Raphael's painting approach drew a lot of publicity and praise, much to Michelangelo's chagrin. This began a fierce competition between the artists since Michelangelo believed Raphael was artistically mimicking him. Raphael, in turn, depicted Michelangelo as the grumpy philosopher Heraclitus in the School of Athens.

He had a lovely demeanor.

Raphael is famous for his lovely attitude, in contrast to Michelangelo, who was known for his somber and brooding nature. His amiable demeanor may have been acquired during his time in the company of the court of Urbino, and it suited him well. It not only helped him gain favor with the wealthy who commissioned his work, but it also helped him head his own group of artists.

His allure is said to have made him quite famous with the women. Raphael is said to have had many lovers although he never married. Margherita luti, a baker's daughter, was one of the most important ladies in his life. La Fornarina, his portrait of her, is thought to be in his studio when he died and currently hangs in the palazzo Barberini museum in Rome.


He created a painting of his main mistress.

Raphael had a fun and cheerful demeanor. He didn't simply use this trait to get commissions at the expense of his competitors by being able to engage Popes, but he also used it to woo women who were fascinated by his enormous talent (on more than one occasion).

Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker, was one of those ladies who became his main girlfriend in life (despite the fact that he had many others). She was dubbed "La Fornarina," or "Baker's (Fornaro) daughter" as a result of this. Their connection became the "archetypal artist-model relationship of the Western tradition" since she posed as his model. Despite the fact that she appears in at least two of his works, little is known about the Fornarina's life other that she lived in Rome's Via del Governo Vecchio.

He had a large number of assistants.

Raphael amassed a studio of 50 assistants once he established himself as a master in his own right. His helpers were properly trained to take his designs and turn them into polished pieces in his name, as was customary procedure at the time. Raphael operated like a well-oiled machine, allowing him to make progress on his most essential commissions.

He would allocate duties as the team's leader and ensure that the quality met his expectations. Because of the team's efficiency, they were able to complete the commissions that Raphael was working on at the time of his death. In fact, the Vatican's Constantine sala was not even started until after Raphael's death. Instead, these paintings were painted after Raphael's designs by his finest helpers, Giulio Romano, Gian Francesco Penni, and Raffaello del Colle.


He died at a young age.

Raphael crammed a lot of experience into his little existence. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, he died on his 37th birthday. Pneumonia, lung illness, and weariness from overwork have all been suggested as plausible causes by historians.

Whatever the cause, his untimely demise was tragic. He organized his affairs and wanted to be placed in the pantheon in the two weeks going up to his death. His request was granted after a magnificent burial attended by vast people, including the Pope, and his tomb may still be visited today.


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Turn Your Art Into Income