Raphael died 500 years ago
April 6, 2020 - Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known as Raphael, the renowned Italian Renaissance artist and architect, died on April 6, 1520, aged just 37.
Raphael's work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition, and together with Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci, he completes the most famous trinity of great masters from the period.
Given his short lifespan, Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop and creating a vast body of work, much of which is to be found in the Vatican.
He is best known for "The School of Athens", a large fresco representing Philosophy adorning a wall in the Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms), inside the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. It is regarded as his masterpiece, embodying the classical Renaissance spirit and notable for its accurate perspective projection.
Unusually for a painter of such notoriety, Raphael championed printing, and entered into a commercial partnership with engraver Marcantonio Raimondi. Together they created around 50 designs which became the most famous Italian prints of the century.
At the age of 31, Raphael was appointed architect of the new St Peter's and for a short time was the most important architect in Rome. After his untimely death from fever, most of his work in St Peter’s was altered or demolished to make way for his great rival Michelangelo's designs.
Post-Renaissance, the influence of Michelangelo pervaded until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities became fashionable once more.