Raffaelo Sanzio was born on March 28, 1483 in Urbino, and is one of the most important references of the Italian Renaissance. Son of art, his father, Giovanni de ‘Santi was a well-known painter in Urbino and his workshop was flourishing, but he died when little Raphael was 8 years old, at 11 Raphael also lost his mother. He takes his first art lessons from his father and then gets to know Perugino and be instructed by him. Its main characters are sacred elements, religious and angelic characters. Very well-known are the Madonna with child, in fact if you see a red and blue Madonna with two cheerful and playful children, the painting is certainly by Raphael. He was a very intelligent person, according to some he was the first “entrepreneur in history” because his workshop was a real war machine made up of a “Team” of collaborators who took commissions and worked with the painter. He was also very devoted to Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo; in fact, their influence is very present in his works. He was also an architect, but in this article, I will limit myself to talking exclusively about his painting.
“Marriage of the Virgin”
This oil painting on panel is probably from 1504 and is kept at the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. This work was commissioned by the Albizzini family for the chapel of San Giuseppe in the church of San Francesco in Città di Castello. It represents the marriage of Mary and Joseph which takes place in the foreground, behind them there is a priest who, holding the hands of both, officiates the function. On the right side of Mary there is a group of women, while on the left, the side of Joseph is filled with a group of men. All the figures are very elastic and there is a use of very bright and bright colours. The background is occupied by a square paved with large squares, at the end of which there is a building with a central plan, at the top of a flight of steps, on whose portal all the perspective lines of the painting converge.
What you see is the self-portrait that Raphael painted in 1506. It is now preserved in the Uffizi gallery. The painting has a common feature in portraits of the time: the painter looks fixedly at the viewer; his bust is particular and is different from the others because it is shot in a rare and particular position. Her dress and hers are black, clothes that her contemporary painters frequently used for their self-portraits.
“Portrait of Julius II”
This oil on panel from 1511 was commissioned, precisely by Pope Julius II. It is kept in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The Pope is shown seated (slightly bent) in his armchair. The mainly white and red figure creates a considerable chromatic contrast. Popes were usually portrayed in profile, perhaps kneeling, or rigidly frontal, which is why Raphael changed the way of portraying Popes. Also exceptional for the time was the intimate representation of the state of mind of a subject of such importance, so obviously introspective, lost in his own thoughts. In fact, 1511 was a particularly hard year for the pontiff, who had suffered heavy defeats by the French, seeing Bologna recover and continually undergoing the threat of foreign armies.
Raffaello Sanzio died in Rome on April 6, 1520, after 15 days of fever (even if the true cause of death is unknown, it is assumed that he died due to Syphilis, others say that his death is due to an “excess of love”) his contemporaries say that after his death, an earthquake and dense, dark clouds rushed over Urbino.