Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (April 6 or March 28, 1483 – April 6, 1520), better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian architect and painter of the High Renaissance. 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. Together with Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.
Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and despite his death at 37, a large body of his work remains. Many of his works are found in the Vatican Palace, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. The best known work is The School of Athens in the Vatican's Stanza della Segnatura. After his early years in Rome, much of his work was executed by his workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models. His career falls naturally into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria, then a period of about four years (1504–1508) absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates.
The 19th century art movement, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, was named after him, alongside other Quattrocento artists, as part of a Retraux art style emulating his works in reaction to the rigid academic art style of the period and of the Industrial Revolution.
This creator's work provides examples of the following tropes:
- Allegory: Raphael's four paintings in the Signatura room of the Papal Palace represent the four greatest human pursuits:
- Disputation of the Holy Sacrament represents the science of theology by showing the greatest Hebrew and Christian saints fondly regarding the clergy of the time debating around the Holy Eucharist.
- The School of Athens represents philosophy by putting Plato, Aristotle, and every other pagan philosopher in a huge dialogue in an imagined academy of wisdom.
- The Parnassus represents the pursuit of beauty with a concert by Greek god Apollo attended by the Nine Muses and every great poet from Homer to Raphael's contemporary, Ludovico Ariosto.
- Cardinal and Theological Virtues represents the pursuit of goodness with Anthropomorphic Personifications of the four cardinal and three theological virtues resting above two great law-makers, Emperor Justinian and The Pope Gregory IX.
- Anachronism Stew: The School of Athens depicts an adult Aristotle in the same building as Socrates, who was executed when Aristotle was 15. Then there's The Cameo from Raphael himself and the Muslim philosopher Averroes, none of which had access to enough Time Travel to make it to the school on time.
- Angelic Beauty:
- The Archangel Michael in St. Michael Vanquishing Satan is a well-toned, pale-skinned youth with a face at peace and a step as light as can be when crushing the Devil into Hell. Despite being a warrior, Michael shows no sign of scarring or gore since his total contemplation of the Trinity has rendered him immune to the death and suffering Satan has brought into the world; in fact, that beauty is what allows him to crush the deformed demon out of the idyllic landscape of Paradise and into the gaping void of eternal darkness.
- Sistine Madonna:
- This Madonna is a woman of skin white as snow and hair smooth as silk, both befitting her stainless soul graced by the Holy Spirit and her virginal body wherein God the Son was conceived.
- The two cherubim at the bottom of the portrait are portrayed as chubby little children leaning on the fourth wall. Their wistful looks render them positively adorable, which works quite well as a way to make audiences admire and long for their holy innocence.
- Aside Glance: The only character in The School of Athens who seems to see the viewer is an Italian pretty boy who looks suspiciously like Raphael.
- The Bard: The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament paints David with a lyre to remind the viewer he composed the Psalms to sing the praises of God and to voice the prayers of Israel. His musical/narrative expertise perhaps explains why he looks with such interest at St. John, who is busy writing one of his sacred works of scripture.
- Blind Mistake: In The Parnassus, Homer, Virgil, and Dante Alighieri are seen engaging with each other, only the blind Homer is looking in the opposite of his fellow poets and is seen reaching out his hands looking for them.
- The Charmer: His social poise and agreeable demeanor quickly earned him the approval of others, particularly women themselves.
- Child Prodigy: Historians state that Raphael showed a precocious talent for art and architecture at a young age, being interned by famous Renaissance painter Perugino by age 11 and becoming skilled enough to work independently at open up his own workshop by 17.
- Cool Crown: David, the archetypical biblical king, is set apart from the other saints in the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament by his tall, golden, and spiked crown. The excess of the crown makes a contrast for the humble instrument that David retains from his time as Saul's servant.
- Creator Cameo: Raphael's self-portrait is hidden in the crowd of Greek philosophers fro, The School of Athens, set apart from the others by the Aside Glance he gives to the audience.
- Crucial Cross: The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament subtly includes the cross-image by the arrangement of the Trinity (who overcame death and suffering at the crucifixion) in a vertical line while the saints (who had to die to get to Heaven) make up a horizontal line through the top of that. Together, the cross-image shows all those who overcame the earthly strife seen at the bottom of the painting to find happiness.
- Divine Birds: The Holy Spirit, per tradition, is depicted in Disputation of the Holy Sacrament as a dove with a Holy Halo, being sent by Christ down to the Eucharist to turn it from bread to His body.
- The Eeyore: Among the brightly colored geniuses sharing their learnings in excitement, the pessimist philosopher Heraclitus bends over a peace of marble, covering his face in shadow, as he looks away from the writing he seems to get no joy from completing.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament shows Christ and the saints sitting on clouds floating above a Eucharistic celebration. Interestingly, the painting tries to make this a Justified Trope by showing that the clouds are filled with little angels that support everything that lies above the clouds.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: An artistic genius with an approximated IQ of 170 with a graceful demeanor and remarkable social skills.
- God Is Good: As expected of a religious artist, God's goodness is a frequent theme in his artwork. In particular, The Disputation of the Sacrament shows God carefully balancing the world on the left, gives a sign of blessing on the right, and shines light on the many saints, philosophers, and scientists below so they can thrive.
- Good Animals, Evil Animals: Fortitude from Cardinal and Theological Virtues is casually petting her lion companion, one of the few animals brave and noble enough to sit beside courage personified.
- Got the Whole World in My Hand:
- Grandpa God:
- 'The Creation of Adam and Eve portrays God as a bald, grey-bearded old man like many other portraits, but here, God has a frazzled, slightly messy beard, and lacks the musculature of many similar depictions of God. Still, God's face is one of grandfatherly love, perhaps because God's glad that his son Adam is going to get set up with a nice girl.
- The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament differentiates God the Father from God the Son by displaying God the Father as man with long grey beard and hair down to his shoulders, presiding over God the Son's throne.
- The Vision of Ezekiel shows God looking like your typical wise grandfather with a flowing grey beard, except his open red robe shows off that God's rock-hard abs, which indicate omnipotence.
- Heaven Above: The School of Athens has Plato pointing his finger skyward, which visualizes his philosophical focus on identifying the Metaphysical Form of the Good which produces goodness like the sun produces light.
- Horned Humanoid: In keeping with Jerome's translation of the Bible, Disputation of the Holy Sacrament gives Moses two rays of light coming from his head that look like horns.
- Holy Backlight: At the center of Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, Jesus sits within a giant golden circle decorated with rays meant to look like the sun.
- In Love with Love: Raphael was mentioned to have been a romantic who found beauty in all sorts of women and often fell for them at first sight.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Plato's appearance in The School of Athens is derived from Leonardo da Vinci, who's wizened beard fit well with wise aesthetic Raphael wanted Plato to have. Many other contemporary figures appear as ancient ones in the painting. (The Borgia Apartment directly downstairs has the same gimmick, with Pope Alexander's daughter Lucrezia as St. Catherine, his son Cesare as St. Sebastian, and the pope himself kneeling and praying as Jesus flies out of his tomb).
- It was Pope Julius II who first commissioned Raphael to fresco the rooms (and he chose the 3rd floor apartment because he wanted to stomp on the spirit of his old, dead enemy Borgia downstairs). After he died, the project was continued by Pope Leo X (a Medici, the son of Lorenzo the Magnificent). Leo chose as a subject... the accomplishment of previous popes named Leo. On the pope's orders, Raphael depicted Pope Leo III with Leo X's appearance.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: In the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, Adam is noticeably naked (besides a loincloth for modesty) while sitting between two men covered in robes. The nudity calls attention to the innocence Adam was born into and which he regains in Heaven.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Raphael's long hair and effeminate beauty, self-portrayed in The School of Athens, earned him significant female attention back in his time.
- The Muse: The Parnassus centers around the nine muses as representations of poetry and their father Apollo. Alongside them, are nineteen real-life poets they the Muses' have inspired.
- Our Angels Are Different: The angels from the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament are blonde infants with tiny white/gold wings. Their role appears to be holding up the clouds of the Fluffy Cloud Heaven to keep the saints afloat and hoisting The Four Gospels above the Eucharist at all times.
- Primary-Color Champion: The Catholic devotion to the Virgin Mary and her unique goodness is obvious from the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament from her red and blue robes.
- Princely Young Man: Despite his work as a renaissance painter, Raphael was well-regarded in his society, and his affiliations with some of the periods most prominent figures further enhanced his social status. Contrary to much of history's acclaimed artists, he was also rather wealthy and possessed a large estate, earning him a nickname as "the prince of painters".
- Putto: Prominent in his work. The pair from his Sistine Madonna are the most famous.
- Red Is Heroic: One of the central figures in The School of Athens, Plato, is seen wearing a bright red that distinguishes him and his metaphysical ideals from the muted world at his fate.
- Science Is Good: The School of Athens idealizes all of the ancient Greek mathematicians, physicists, and philosophers as members of a single beautiful university. A special honor goes to Aristotle, who represents earthly knowledge with his downward gesture, who is walking towards the audience alongside Plato. In fact, they are walking right into the painting across the wall from the The School of Athens, The Disputation of the Sacrament, indicating science and reason can lead one to the truth and goodness of Christ in the Eucharist..
- The Smurfette Principle: Of the nineteen poets celebrated in The Parnassus, Sappho is the only woman among them.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Diane Haeger's The Ruby Ring portrays Raphael and his mistress, Margheritta Luti, in this light.
- Stealth Insult: Offered several of this throughout his artwork toward Michelangelo.
- Tsundere: Margheritta Luti serves as one towards Raphael throughout the beginning of Haeger's The Ruby Ring.
Media featuring Raphael:
- Sin, in which he's portrayed by Glen Blackhall.