Raphael (1483-1520) - Italy Painting of the Week - The School of Athens
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter, draftsman, and architect. He is one of the big three of the High Renaissance -- Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo being the other two. Raphael’s paintings pull together all that he learned from studying Leonardo and Michelangelo, so that his paintings are the prime examples of the High Renaissance style.
Raphael produced a large body of work despite his early death at age 37. Many of his art pieces are found in the Vatican Palace.
The School of Athens by Raphael
One of his best known paintings is on a wall in the Vatican, and it is our painting of the week, The School of Athens.
YouTube video - Raphael, the Young Artist (3:14 min.)
TUESDAY - The Raphael Rooms
Portrait of Michelangelo
Portrait of da Vinci
The School of Athens is considered to be Raphael’s masterpiece and a perfect example of the classical spirit of the Renaissance. The painting represents Philosophy. Nearly every great Greek philosopher can be found in the painting. Raphael even painted Michelangelo, Leonardo, and himself into the scene.
The School of Athens was painted around 1510 as part of Raphael’s job of painting frescoes in four rooms of the Vatican Palace. The rooms are now called the Raphael Rooms, and they are in the public part of the pope’s apartments. Thousands of tourists view the rooms every day.
WEDNESDAY - Fresco painting
Wall painting was very popular during the Renaissance and fresco was the main method of decoration. Fresco, the Italian word for fresh, is a form of mural painting in which colored pigments are painted directly on fresh, wet, lime plaster. As the plaster dries, the colors and plaster bond together. The area to be painted was first covered with an under layer of plaster. Then the main layer of plaster was applied which the artist had to brush his colors into.
The artist had to complete the painting before the plaster dried, which was only about 8 or 9 hours. Since a painter couldn’t finish a big painting in just one day, he would work in sections, completing part of a painting each day. If mistakes were made, that day’s layer of plaster would have to be scraped away and he would have to do it all over.
THURSDAY - Raphael's Madonnas
Raphael is known for his many paintings of the Madonna and Child. The Madonna is a name for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Raphael completed most of his Madonna paintings while living in Florence. His Madonna paintings show his ability to paint human warmth, a sense of peace, and beautifully perfect figures.
Madonna of the Beautiful Garden by Raphael
Close-up of Raphael's Sistine Madonna
Two of his most famous are The Madonna of the Beautiful Garden and the Sistine Madonna. Raphael’s art truly represented the Renaissance qualities of harmony and ideal beauty.
YouTube video - Raphael's Madonna on loan at a Pasadena art museum(1:31 min.)
FRIDAY - Raphael's Cherubs
The Sistine Madonna by Raphael
Raphael’s Sistine Madonna is one of his most famous. People wonder about the Madonna and child’s expressions of worry.
But the main reason this painting has become so famous is not the Madonna and child themselves but the two cherubs painted at the bottom. Raphael added the angels as an afterthought, simply to improve the painting’s composition. By looking above, the pair help pull the viewer’s eye upwards, to the Mary and Child at the heart of the painting.
This little pair of cherubs have found their way onto neckties, snow globes, Tupperware, toilet paper, air freshener, cups, boxes, and many other items.
YouTube video - Sistine Madonna (4:35 min.)
Arkansas Visual Art Frameworks
VA.5.5.5 Investigate artists' use of various perspective techniques
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