By Anne Leader

Giovanni Santi, father of the artist Raphael, died on 1 August 1494 in Urbino. He was in his late 50s. In addition to training his more famous son, Santi had a successful career as court painter and poet at the Court of Urbino. Born to a wealthy merchant family in the small town of Colbordolo, Santi pursued an artistic career and joined the lively art scene at the court of Duke Federico da Montefeltro in the 1470s. Santi’s work shows the influence of both Netherlandish and central Italian painting that he came to know while working at court. He likely came into contact there with Pietro Perugino, with whom his son Raphael would apprentice at the turn of the century. He also met Piero della Francesca and perhaps hosted him during his stay in Urbino, and came to know the various non-Italian painters like Joos van Ghent and Pedro Berruguete who were also in the duke’s employ.

Santi’s most famous work is an epic poem that chronicles the life and times of Federico and his court. It includes a discourse on painting that lists those fifteenth-century artists he believed to be the most important.

Reference: Eunice D. Howe. “Santi, Giovanni.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

Virgin and Child, 1480s, Egg tempera and oil on panel, National Gallery, London

Man of Sorrows, c. 1490, Oil on canvas transferred from panel, Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest

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