Raffaello explained in 7 works of art

Hi everyone and welcome back to Exploring Art with Alessandro! We are in 2020 and it’s a very important date because Raffaello Sanzio died 500 years ago at only 37. Raffaello explained in 7 works of art

And the best way to remember and to know more an artist is thanks to his works of art. Even if he died really young he made a lot of masterpieces, but I picked 7 of them that are going to tell us a story, the story of a man and a genius.

The first years Raffaello explained in 7 works of art

This is the Madonna di Casa Santi, one of the first frescoes that Raffaello painted inside his house in Urbino. Can you guess at what age? He was just 15 years old. Raffaello’s dad was court painter of the Duke, so he grew up in a perfect environment to develop his talent. However it was not a perfect life: he lost his mom when he was just 8 and the dad at 11. Raffaello’s father understood immediately the great talent of his son and he wanted him to work with one of the best painters at that time: Perugino.

Madonna col bambino, Raffaello Sanzio
Madonna di Casa Santi
From around 1500 the influence of Perugino on Raphael’s early work is very clear as well as his studies on perspective. And, in the Wedding of the Virgin, a 21 years old Raffaello showed that he was able to compete with the greatest Renaissance painters.
Wedding of the Virgin - Raffaello
Wedding of the Virgin

Raffaello in Florence

And this is the 21 Raffaello on a self-portrait when in 1504 he moved to Florence, the birthplace of Renaissance and cultural center of the world. On his face we can read peace, elegance. The same elegance that we can see in all his paintings.
Raffaello Sanzio young Selfportrait
Among them, in 1506, the Madonna del Cardellino. One of the sweetest and saddest moments in art history since a Mary depicted as a beautiful young woman is observing the young John the Baptist giving to Jesus a goldfinch, cardellino in Italian, symbol of Christ’s crucifixion.
Madonna del Cardellino, Raffaello Sanzio
Madonna del Cardellino

Raffaello in Rome Raffaello explained in 7 works of art

Raffaello reached fame and success in the whole Italy where rich families were competing to have one of his works of art and potraits. So for some years he lived a “nomadic” life until the most powerful man, the Pope, wanted him in Rome. It’s here where he probably painted the Sistine Madonna. A masterpiece where he painted Mary like a young protective mom lost in her thoughts as well as the two famous little angels at the bottom.

Sistine Madonna, Raffaello
Sistine Madonna
But Raffaello was a man, not only an artist, and among his paintings there is this portrait. La fornarina. Not a noble woman or even a goddess, but the daughter of a baker who Raffaello was probably in love with. There are many legends around this painting as well as symbols. But I want to focus on one in particular: the armband where the painter wrote his name…
La Fornarina by Raffaello Sanzio
La Fornarina

And it’s in Rome for the Pope where Raffaello painted one of the most famous frescoes in the world: the School of Athens. It’s not one of his last works since it has been realized between 1509-1511, but I left it as last because it represents all his genius. This is a tribute to classical art, philosophy, Renaissance painting, math and science and a tribute also to the extraordinary artists that Raffaello himself admired.

The School of Athens

Also because of that we can consider him one the greatest!

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