Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio)
Presumed self-portrait of Raphael
“Il Divino”. Extraordinarily gifted, who died young, but one of the greatest masters of the High Renaissance and therefore of all time. He was so influential that he helped raise the social status of artists from craftsmen to intellectuals.
He had complete mastery of all techniques, subjects, and genres to perfection, and used and developed them with apparent ease: emotional, expression, total belief, harmony, humanity, and superb draftsmanship. He projected an at almost every level — which is why he was held up as the model for all ambitious artists, including contemporary ones.
Notice how everything has a purpose, especially how he uses contrast to heighten our perception and feeling (one of the oldest and most successful devices): stern men and gentle women; statics and movement, contemplation and activity, curved and straight line; tension and relaxation.
Notice also the continuity in his works—how a gesture, pose, or movement begun in one part of the body, or in one figure, is carried a stage further in another.
Raphael’s major works are The School of Athens, 1510–11 (see page 139); Madonna of the Chair, c. 1513 (Florence: Galleria degli Uffizi); Bindo Altoviti, c. 1515 (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art); Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, pre-1516 (Paris: Musée du Louvre).
- Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.