April 6 – Celebrating Raphael

Posted on April 6, 2017

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made famous to new generations the names of four Renaissance artists: Donatello, Leonardo (da Vinci), Michelangelo, and today's featured artist, Raphael.

The last three artists (not turtles!) are considered THE great masters of the Renaissance. Like the others, Raphael was born and raised in what is now Italy; he was especially prolific as a painter but also did architecture and printmaking. 

Some of "his" paintings were actually created by his "workshop," around fifty students and assistants, including some "journeymen" (experienced, trained worker) and even some masters from other locales. The artists of the workshop did their work based on Raphael's drawings, but it is difficult to know who created what, and the quality varies.

Apparently other master artists also had workshops with assistants, but this was a much larger workshop than those of most master artists - it was probably the largest workshop ever assembled. Rafael was said to be very good at smoothing ruffled tempers and otherwise making a very peaceful, productive workshop.

Rafael did a lot of stuff, working first in Umbria, then four years in Florence, and finally twelve years in the heart of Italy, Rome.

Like Michelangelo, Rafael was hired to decorate the walls of the Vatican Palace. While Michelangelo was painting the famous ceiling of the Sistene Chapel, Raphael was painting the walls of the Pope's library and two other rooms. These are certainly among his most famous works:

Also on this date:

Be sure to check out the story of Robert Garrett, pictured here. It's pretty strange and cool!

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