Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Raphael (otherwise Raffaello Sanzio), was born at Urbino in 1483, being the son of a painter who, previous to his death in 1494, taught him the elements of his art. Raphael was left a small inheritance, and about 1495 (though some writers put it at a much later date) began to take lessons in the studio of Perugino. There is much controversy about his earliest works, the influence of various masters discernible in them having led many to the opinion that he studied under several of them. But it is agreed that after 1504 he began an independent career as a painter, and, except for an occasional trace of the manner of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, his pictures henceforth showed more and more of his own individuality. In the year just mentioned he went to Florence, and in the following year was back again in Perugia. He began to obtain some excellent commissions, and in 1507 finished his Entombment, and worked at several fine frescoes. He moved frequently between Perugia and Florence, and in or about 1509 proceeded to Rome to decorate certain apartments in the Vatican to the order of Julius II. Here he did some of his grandest work, and commissions poured in upon him to such an extent that he was obliged to leave the execution of many of them to his pupils, who worked from his designs. The accession of Leo X. to the throne increased the commissions from the Vatican, for which some of his finest work was done. For it he did the magnificent cartoons illustrating the Acts of the Apostles, ten in number, seven of which are now in the South Kensington Museum, the other three having perished. One of his wealthiest patrons was Agostino Chigi, for whose villa at Trastevere Raphael completed various works. Besides his paintings and cartoons, Raphael is supposed to have been the architect of some splendid edifices, notably the Palazzo Pandolfini, and was appointed chief architect and inspector of antiquities at St. Peter's, where certain improvements have been attributed to him, but there is much doubt as to the extent of his architectural achievements. He never married, but was engaged to the niece of Cardinal Bibbiena, her early death preventing the nuptials. He died of fever at Rome on Good Friday, March 26th or 28th, 1520, and lay in state with his unfinished masterpiece The Transfiguration at the head of his bier. He was buried in the Roman Pantheon. The civilised world has unanimously accepted Raphael as one of the greatest, if not the very greatest, of all painters. There are several excellent examples of his work in the National Gallery, and others in the Vatican, Louvre, and Dresden galleries. The Sistina Madonna in the last-named town is considered his finest work.