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Raffaello (Raphael) Master of the High Arts

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Raffaello Sanzi or Santi is better known to the world as Raphael, master of the High Period of Italian Renaissance Architecture.


Raphael is best known for his paintings of Madonnas and for his large paintings in the Vatican in Rome.  Critics have lauded Raphael for his clarity of form, ease of composition and for visually presenting the Neoplatonic ideal of the majesty of humanity.


Raphael was the son of Giovanni Santi and Magia di Battista Ciarla.  His mother died in 1491.  Vasari, the chronicler of the lives of the great artists, described Raphael’s father as “a painter of no great merit.”  He was, no matter the criticism, a man of worldly knowledge and experience.  He appeared to know the advanced artistic ideas of the day at the court at Urbino.


Giovanni Santi introduced the young Raphael to painting.  Before Santi died in 1491, he made sure that the 11 year old Raphael was exposed to a basic understanding of humanistic philosophy from the court at Urbino.


The court at Urbino had become a center for Renaissance culture during the rule of Duke Federico da Montefeltro.  The Duke encouraged the talents of artists like Bramante, della Francesca and Leon Alberti.  The court at Urbino, therefore, was the place where the young Raphael was exposed to the arts and ideas of the time.  At 17, Raphael already was displaying an extraordinary talent.

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