|Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520)
Raphael was born in the Duchy of Urbino. He was a master painter and architect of the Italian High Renaissance. Raphael is best known for his Madonnas and for his large figure compositions in the Vatican in Rome. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur.
While we may term other works paintings, those of Raphael are living things; the flesh palpitates, the breath comes and goes, every organ lives, life pulsates everywhere.
At 27 Raphael was recommended to Pope Julius II (1503-1513) by the pope's architect,
to fresco the walls of what was to be Julius' library. Raphael used the passage in the fourth book of Dante's Inferno where Dante and Virgil come across the virtuous pagans:
heroes, poets and philosophersas as guidance. He situated the figures in the poem, not on a path down into Hell, but in a vision of Heaven. Raphael manifested the metaphysical significance of the philosophy through placing the great founders of Western rationalism and their historical progeny in a setting so beautiful that we hear music while looking at it.
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