Early Life and Work
Raphael was born in Urbino, Italy. His father, Giovanni Santi, was a painter to the Duke and somewhat of a poet. Because Raphael grew up in the environment of the court, he gained great manners and social skills. His mother, Mágia, died in 1491, when Raphael was only eight. When Raphael’s father died in 1494, he became an orphan at the age of eleven. His uncle Bartolomeo became his guardian. Raphael’s talent shone through at an early age; he played a part in managing his father’s studio. Starting around 1500, at age seventeen, Raphael became a pupil to Pietro Perugino in Perugia.
In the year 1501, Raphael was deemed a "master", which meant that his training was complete. His first documented painting was also finished in this year. The painting was the Baronci altarpiece for the church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino in Città di Castello. In the ensuing years, Raphael painted more works for other churches near Saint Nicholas. He also began painting Madonnas and portraits in the early stages of his career.
The "Florentine Period" (1504-1508)
Raphael worked in varied centers in Northern Italy, and spent a lot of time in Florence. The “Florentine Period” reflects the influence that Florentine art had upon Raphael’s work. However, his own style is still seen in paintings of his from this time period. His subjects became more dynamic and more complex. Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings were the most influential to Raphael in the “Florentine Period.”
Part of Raphael's "Roman Period" (end of 1508 until his death), these Stanze were entire walls and sometimes ceilings covered in religious scenes painted on grand scales for churches. These are what Raphael is most remembered for and the most impressive of his works to view.
Raphael designed a series of cartoons to be printed on tapestries, was for a time the most important architect in Rome, completed a number of drawings, and designed several engravings for the newly-developed reproductive printing press.
Raphael was influenced by Pietro Perugino, Fra Bartolomeo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo.