Raphael died in Rome on 6 April 1520, likely his thirty-seventh birthday (unless, in fact, he was born on 28 March).

By Anne Leader

Raphael died in Rome on 6 April 1520, likely his thirty-seventh birthday (unless, in fact, he was born on 28 March). Born in Urbino in 1483, Raphael first learned the art of painting from his father Giovanni Santi. He continued his training and artistic development with Pietro Perugino and his student Bernardo Pinturricchio. He was in Florence by 1504 where he was active painting portraits and devotional works for elite patrons like Agnolo Doni. He moved to Rome in 1508 to enter the service of Pope Julius II alongside Michelangelo and Donato Bramante. In Rome he found great success as a fresco painter, antiquarian, and architect and ran a large and highly productive workshop.  His unexpected and early death was a great loss to the art world. Vasari recounts how Pope Leo X wept upon hearing the news and that “when this noble craftsman died, the art of painting might well have died also, seeing that when he closed his eyes, she was left as it were blind.” Raphael received the utmost honor of burial in the Roman Pantheon and is widely recognized as one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance.


Presentation in the Temple, Oddi Altar predella, 1502-3, oil. Vatican Pinacoteca

Portraits of Agnolo and Maddalena Doni, 1506, oil on panel. Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence

Madonna del Prato, 1506, oil on panel, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The Voyage of Galatea, 1511, fresco, Villa Farnesina, Rome

The Fire in the Borgo, 1514, fresco, Stanza dell’Incendio di Borgo, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

The Transfiguration, 1518-20, oil on panel, Pinacoteca, Vatican

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