Raphael Umbrian School


RAPHAEL'S FATHER was a painter in the employ of the Duke of Urbino. He died when Raphael was only eleven, but it was during this formative period that Raphael received his original impetus and the seed of his future development. It is fruitless to attempt to define Raphael's progressive absorption of external influences. The imprint of Perugino, with whom he studied, was obvious at first, but soon became submerged. Raphael seems to have had the perfect faculty of eclecticism, consciously taking the best of everything and adapting it in a purely personal, unobtrusive way.

Raphael worked first in Urbino and Florence, but his large monumental paintings date from the time of his activity in Rome where, as one of the many painters invited by Pope Julius II to improve the Vatican, he decorated the Stanza della Segnatura with the famous "Disputa," a magnificent, strong conception, and with the "School of Athens," even bolder in design. He was always surrounded by a large retinue of pupils who formed a sort of "personal court" about him. During the years in which he was engaged upon these large decorations, Raphael continued to produce innumerable Madonnas, designs for tapestries, portraits, and even architectural designs.

He died on Good Friday in 1520 and was entombed, fittingly, in the Pantheon.

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