Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino is one of the three great art masters of the Renaissance, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. He was a master at realistically depicting emotion in great detail. Raphael is considered a balanced painter, and many of his paintings are considered cornerstones of the Renaissance.
1. THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS
Raphael’s masterpiece, The School of Athens, is one of the four main frescoes on the walls of the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The four paintings epitomize Philosophy, Poetry, Theology, and Law; with The School of Athens representing Philosophy. Critical response to this painting demonstrated its power to convey ideas through imagery. A number of critics have suggested that every great Greek philosopher can be found among the 21 painted in the painting. However, apart from Plato and Aristotle, who are placed in the center of the scene, no one's identity can be verified with certainty. Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino’s The School of Athens is considered “the perfect embodiment of the Classical spirit of the High Renaissance” and is the most famous painting by him.
2. SISTINE MADONNA
The Sistine Madonna depicts the Madonna, holding the Christ Child and flanked by Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara. Aside from this trio there is also a pair of winged cherubs beneath Mary who are perhaps the most famous cherubs depicted in any picture. Such is there popularity that they have reproduced on everything from paper table napkins to umbrellas. Sistine Madonna is one of the finest paintings by Raffaello Sanzio and it is especially popular in Germany where it “has been hailed as ‘supreme among the world’s paintings’ and accorded the epithet ‘divine'”.
Raffaello’s The Transfiguration depicts the transfiguration of Christ with Elijah and Moses on either side of him. In the lower portion, the apostles are unsuccessfully trying to rid the possessed boy of demons. The painting can be interpreted as showing the contrast between god and man; with the upper part pure and symmetrical and the lower part dark and chaotic. To Napoleon, Raphael was simply the greatest of Italian artists and The Transfiguration his greatest work. To Giorgio Vasari, it was “Raphael’s most beautiful and divine work.”
4. MADONNA AND CHILD WITH SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
Raphael’s popularity during his time was not due to his major masterpieces such as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but due to the numerous small paintings he did of the Madonna and Christ Child. These remain hugely popular even today, and the most famous of them is La belle jardinière (“Madonna and child with Saint John the Baptist”). The painting which shows a calm-faced Madonna in an informal pose with Christ and the young John the Baptist has become a quintessential example of Raphael’s style.
5. THE TRIUMPH OF GALATEA
The beautiful Nereid Galatea is a daughter of Poseidon and Polyphemus kills the peasant shepherd Acis. Instead of painting the events of the story, Raphael painted her apotheosis. The Triumph of Galatea is perhaps without parallel in its ability to evoke the spirit of classical antiquity and is considered one of the finest Renaissance paintings.
6. PORTRAIT OF BALDASSARE CASTIGLIONE
One of the greatest portrait paintings of the Renaissance. This painting show Raphael's friend, which is the diplomat and humanist Baldassare Castiglione, who is considered an example excellence of the Renaissance gentleman, you can be seen in this painting. Art historian James Beck describes "Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione" as “the final solution for the portrait of a single man in the Renaissance style.” This style of painting had a lasting influence on future artists, including paintings of Titian, Rembrandt and Matisse.
7. DISPUTATION OF THE HOLY SACRAMENT
In addition to Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, Raphael's frescoes in the Apostolic Palace are works of art of the highest caliber of the High Renaissance in Rome. Stanza della Segnatura is one of four Raphael Rooms in the palace. It contains four large summarizing philosophy, poetry, theology and law. The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament shows an of an earth-spanning church that spans earth to the sky. This is one of the best known paintings painted by Raphael.
8. LA VELATA (THE WOMAN WITH THE VEIL)
This is Raphael's famous portrait is known. La Velata, highlights the artist's incredible ability to paint with such exquisite perfection that it seems to the viewer that they is looking at a real person. The clothing of the woman in the painting is designed to bring the painting to life by showing Raphael's attention to detail. The subject of Raphael's painting is Margarita Luti, Rafael's lover.
9. SAINT GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
This painting Saint George and the Dragon is perhaps the most famous work about the subject. A work by famous Italian painter was one of the most popular paintings in the Imperial Hermitage Museum in Russia for a century and a half. It finally this paintings go to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
10. THE MARRIAGE OF THE VIRGIN
This is based on a painting of the same subject by Raphael's teacher Pietro Perugino. In The Marriage of the Virgin, Raphael depicts a marriage ceremony between Mary and Joseph. He is development style is evident in this painting. The sanctuary in the background of this picture, artist drawn with such care that it is amazing to think about how difficult it is to draw things in perspective.