Term Paper: Art History Raphael's Career

Pages: 5 (1468 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Within the study of art history, it is accepted that one of the defining characteristics of the Renaissance is the use of perspective. Art historians concur that one of the many reasons why Raphael is considered so talented and revered is due to his masterful understanding and use of perspective.

The Renaissance use of perspective reached its apogee at around 1500, as represented by the incandescent work of Raphael. In a career that paralleled that of Masolino, Raphael started his oeuvre painting Madonnas of unequalled grace and composure. Later in his short life (he died at 37), he produced some of the most imposing perspective compositions of the Renaissance, representing a kind of culmination of a century of perspective exploration. Unlike most of his predecessors, Raphael also included examples of the oblique perspective construction, leading one to ask whether he had finally achieved a full synthesis of the technique of linear projection that had become so commonplace… Even beyond the philosophical reach, psychological depth is incorporated into Raphael's painting by the use of portraits of many of Raphael's famous contemporaries as the embodiments of the ancient philosophers. (Web Exhibits, 2012)

Right as Raphael's professional career hatched and bloomed, the Renaissance reached its peak. He was born right at the proper moment to absorb and then reproduce all the best and most paradigmatic characteristics of Renaissance art into his young mind and young hands. While a young man, he was an exceptional rival for peers that had been long since established as professional artists. His mastery is demonstrated in his understanding and manipulation of perspective in tandem with rare talent for form, position, and composition. Surely his talents as an architect and proficiency in drawing assisted his meticulous and graceful use of perspective throughout his paintings including "The Hall of Athens."

Raphael was one of the finest draftsmen in the history of Western art, and used drawings extensively to plan his compositions. According to a near-contemporary, when beginning to plan a composition, he would lay out a large number of stock drawings of his on the floor, and begin to draw "rapidly," borrowing figures from here and there…He used different drawings to refine his poses and compositions, apparently to a greater extent than most other painters, to judge by the number of variants that survive: "... This is how Raphael himself, who was so rich in inventiveness, used to work, always coming up with four or six ways to show a narrative, each one different from the rest, and all of them full of grace and well done." (Raphael Sanzio.org, 2012)

He like other quintessential masters of Renaissance art, spent a great deal of time preparing and visualizing his works, such as when Michelangelo spent years just drawing sketches for the Sistine Chapel and the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Raphael clearly had a creative process that helped him organize his thoughts as well as his content and approach to the work. His constant time spent drawing facilitated his creative process as a painter and architect a great deal. His professional work as an architect contrasted as well as complemented the kinds of compositions he painting. Raphael's work, just as with another master Renaissance painter, Leonardo da Vinci, was a glorious and harmonious product of mathematics, science, aesthetics, beauty, and art. He had a mathematical and scientific mind, yet he was a romantic, seamless, and rich painter. These are the qualities, as shown throughout the works of his brief, yet epic career, that proves Raphael as one of the greatest and quintessential artists of the Renaissance.

On his sarcophagus, it says, "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die." Post-mortem, Vassari wrote a biography for Raphael, and said that he was, "So gentle and charitable that even the animals loved him." (Totally History, 2012)


Italian Renaissance Art.com. Raphael Biography. 2012, Web, Available from: http://www.italian-renaissance-art.com/Raphael-Biography.html. 2012 October 12.

Raphael Sanzio.org. Raphael Biography. 2012, Web, Available from: http://www.raphaelsanzio.org/. 2012 October 12.

Totally History. Raphael Sanzio. 2012, Web, Available from: http://totallyhistory.com/raphael-sanzio/. 2012 October 12.

Visual Arts Cork. Raphael. 2012, Web, Available from: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/old-masters/raphael.htm. 2012 October 12.

Web Exhibits Online. The Rise of Renaissance Perspective. 2012, Web, Available from: http://www.webexhibits.org/sciartperspective/raphaelperspective1.html. 2012 October 10. [END OF PREVIEW]

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