Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520), widely known as Raphael, was born in Urbino, Italy. His father, Giovanni Santi, was a painter and a poet. Raphael trained in his father's workshop and later in the workshop of artist Pietro Perugino. In 1504, he began spending time and perhaps even resided in Florence. Eventually, he moved to Rome where, under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Raphael entered his most productive phase. This High Renaissance master is known for his distinctive control over pigment color and a serenity that contrasts with the style of his mentors and fellow icons of the era, notably Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Raphael managed a large workshop of pupils and assistants, many of whom became well-known artists in their own right. Raphael's personal life was complex. He never married but was reputed to have had many relationships. In 1514, he became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, the niece of an influential Cardinal and Raphael's friend. The marriage never took place, and she died in 1520. Raphael lived a grand lifestyle in Rome and attained some status in the court. It is believed he died on his 37th birthday in 1520. Raphael was buried in the Pantheon and left a significant portion of his estate to his mistress, Margherita Luti.
Click here to see more about Sharon Spangler's story on Raphael's La Velata and her extraordinary journey to arte italia.