Raphael's Career Term Paper

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Art History

Raphael's Career

Raphael is one of the most renowned artists in modern human history. He is so famous that he is one of a small number of artists that they are only known by one name. His full name is Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. His precise birthdate is contended, but it is agreed that he was born sometime in the spring during 1483, as the 15th century, as well as the Renaissance era, concluded. His life did not spans four decades, yet his body of work persists around the world nearly five centuries later. Raphael, like other Renaissance artists and professionals of the period, had proficiency in several skills; he is primarily known as a painter and architect. His life spanned the final stage of the Renaissance, known as High Renaissance. He came from an artistically inclined family, and suffered the deaths of both of his parents before he was a teenager. His father, before his death, made certain that Raphael began his training as a painter. The young orphaned boy would grow into one of the most prolific and talented artists of his time, and in history. He gained, saw, and used his influential during his short lifetime. Art historians classify his career into three stages: Umbria, Florentine, and Roman. The paper traces the development of Raphael's career and explains the ways in which the label of the quintessential Renaissance artist holds true for him.

As aforementioned, Raffaello/Raphael's family was artistic. His father was a painter by profession. Raphael grew from childhood into adulthood surrounded by art and developing his artistic talents. Raphael's development as an artist could be explained by the nurture vs. nature theory. In was in Raphael's nature to be artistic, literally possessing the artistic abilities and inclinations as part of his genetics. Certainly, the environment and culture that nurtured Raphael has some responsibility or influence on his development and perspective as a Renaissance artists as well.

His father Giovanni Santi was a court painter to Duke Federigo da Montefeltro and gave his son his first painting lessons. When he was a teenager, Raphael was sent to apprentice under Pietro Perugino, leading painter of the Umbrian school. Raphael became a 'Master', fully qualified and trained in 1501…During his Florentine period, Raphael came to be influenced by the works of Leonardo da Vinci, who was 30 years his senior…He was strongly influenced by Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, which was being painted at the same time. Michelangelo was in fact to accuse Raphael of plagiarism and years later complained that 'everything he knew about art he got from me'. (Visual Arts Cork, 2012)

Though young Raphael did not get to spend much time with his parents, the artistic influence and imprint was present on the young boy. His father chose a master painter well for his son, and he grew as an apprentice. Because of the time period and location of his birth and raising, he had direct opportunity to experience the influence of other masters of the time in his field. These factors in addition to the individual character of Raphael contributed directly to his achievement as a quintessential Renaissance artist. A website full of content specifically dedicated to the life and works of Raphael confirms and expands upon this point:

A brilliant self-portrait drawing from his teenage years shows his precocious talent. His father's workshop continued and, probably together with his stepmother, Raphael evidently played a part in managing it from a very early age. In Urbino, he came into contact with the works of Paolo Uccello, previously the court painter (d. 1475), and Luca Signorelli, who until 1498 was based in nearby Citta di Castello. (Raphael Sanzio.org, 2012)

His early tutelage by his father helped him develop as a painter as well as the leader of a business. Raphael, later in his adult life, would be known for his industrious and unusually large studio full of his many projects and his innumerable painting assistants. Just by the fact of his birthplace, he was able to come into contact with, learn from, and even assist in the creative process with many local and prolific painters as well.

As demonstrated in works such as his Florentine Madonna & Child paintings, and surely into works commissioned or in service to the popes, Raphael is a master of color, composition, movement, rhythm, and perspective. It is these combination of elements in addition…[continue]

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