Raffaello Santi (or Sanzio) (1483-1520), painter and architect. Born Urbino 1483, died Rome 1520. The spelling 'Raffaelle' is also used by Sir Joshua Reynolds Raphael worked from 1500 - 1504 in Perugia, where he is said to have been trained by Perugino. He worked in Florence from 1504 until 1508, with commissions throughout Tuscany and Umbria. Raphael's painting of St. Catherine of Alexandria (see MP I:xxix) probably belongs to this period. He moved to Rome in 1508, and worked there to commissions by Pope Julius II, Pope Leo X, and other aristocratic patrons. In 1514 he succeeded Bramante as architect of St. Peter's, and in 1515 he became Commisario dell'Antichità in Rome. The posts led him to a detailed study of the monuments of ancient Rome and gave him considerable political influence in the court of Pope Leo X at a time when the papacy was seeking to restore the ancient beauty (as well as the prestige and power) of Rome. In Rome his work included Vatican frescoes (see Ruskin on Raphael), the Sistine Madonna (see MP I:xvi), Cartoons for the Sistine Chapel Tapestries (see MP I:xxvii), and the Vatican Loggie (see MP I:11).
Raphael's reputation as a painter during his lifetime was high, to the point that according to Vasari it was proposed that he would have been made Cardinal if he had not died early as a result of his debauchery ( Vasari, Le Vite, Testo VI.209). Vasari and Reynolds and both see Michelangelo as his only rival (see Vasari on Raphael and Reynolds on Raphael). Raphael's reputation in the nineteenth century was, if anything, even higher than that of Michelangelo. Ruskin, however, argues that Raphael's move to Rome marked a decisive change for the worse in Raphael's own work and in the history of art (see Ruskin on Raphael and Ruskin and the Italian School).