Raphael the Renaissance and the Re-Birth of Italy
Raphael, the Renaissance, and the Re-Birth of Italy
The "rebirth" of art in Italy, otherwise known as the Renaissance, was connected with the rediscovery of ancient philosophy, literature, and science and the development of methods in these fields using keen observation. Greater awareness of classical knowledge created a new way to learn by direct study of the natural world. Because of this, religious themes became increasingly important to artists, and with the large interest in the Middle Ages came a new idea for subjects drawn from Greek and Roman history and mythology. The models provided by ancient buildings and works of art also inspired the development of new artistic techniques and the desire to recreate the forms and styles of classical art.
Raphael was one of the greatest and most influential painters of the Italian Renaissance. His figures and compositions influenced artists up to the early 1900’s. The period of Raphael’s influence was called the High Renaissance.
Raphael painted altarpieces, frescoes (paintings on damp plaster) of historical and mythological scenes, and portraits. His most popular works include his paintings of the Madonna and Child. Raphael was also an architect. From 1514 until his unfortunate death, he directed the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Raphael, otherwise known as Raffaello Santi or Sanzi, was born in the Umbrian City of Urbino,. The atmosphere was probably quite familiar to Raphael from an early age since his father, Giovanni di Santi di Piero, a respectable poet and painter, was well known throughout the Urbino circle. Giovanni died when Raphael was only eleven, however, his workshop was still maintained, and it was there where Raphael received his first artistic training. His development was exceptional and there are works related to him with certainty that they must have been painted in 1499-1500, when he was at the most seventeen. The most extraordinary of these are two banners in the Pinacoteca Comunale at Citta di Castello, near Urbino. Little of his father’s influence is seen in these and other early works, although, the young artist was influenced by two major early Renaissance figures, the painter Piero della Francesca and the architect Leone Battista Alberti, as well as the leading Umbrian painter of his own time, Perugino.
In 1500-1501, with Evangelista da Pian di Meleto, Raphael began a large altarpiece, The Coronation of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, for the church of Sant’Agostino in Citta di Castello. Remaining fragments in the...