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~ Raphael was born among artists and the high echelons because his father, Giovanni Santi, was court painter to the Duke of Urbino. He was orphaned by 12, which was not unusual due to short life expectancies.
~ Raphael’s social grace and ease among the high echelons, from being raised at court, helped his career.
~ His first documented work was the Baronci altarpiece for the church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino in Città di Castello.
~ Raphael led a "nomadic" life, in Northern Italy. A good chunk of that time was spent in Florence, about 1504-08.
~ In 1508, Raphael moved to Rome, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.
~ His first work in Rome was for the Pope’s Library.
~ outstanding art achievement: The frescoed Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Palace.
~ The School of Athens in the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura is the most well known work of the Raphael Rooms.
- Raphael’s key patron during his life was the Catholic Church. It wanted Catholic images. It also was quick to brand anything which deviated from its tenets as heretical.
- Artists in every age have found their own ways of getting around the restrictions of their patrons. Raphael did it with the details of his paintings.
~ Thus a painting could be titled about the "Birth of the Christ Child" yet the mesmerizing part is the detail of the beautiful Madonna. There are many of these Raphael portraits which are impossible to distinguish from leading non-religious portrait paintings (if you disregard the Baby Jesus).