Rafael's works during his stay in Florence
The artist worked in Florence from 1504 to 1508. Over there, he was influenced by the art of Da Vinci and Michelangelo. These are Rafael's most outstanding works in those four years of his life:
The Betrothal Of The Virgin
A frequent theme in Christian art and during the Renaissance in Italy. It is the link between the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. In this case, this oil painting made in 1504. This work is now located in the Pinacoteca de Brera in Milan.
In the painting, the clear influence of his teacher has perceived very well: Pietro Perugino. He used the same technique in terms of spatial organization and search for harmony. However, it is his brushstroke that light and firm, which gives this work unsurpassed quality.
It is one of Rafael's few works whose theme is classical mythology. In it, you can see the three graces, which represented the three feminine virtues of the time: chastity, beauty, and love.
The Tres Gracias sculpture of Siena served as a source of inspiration for this original and modern painting, which stands out for its harmony, its proportion, and its serene beauty.
It is one of Rafael's few self-portraits. In fact, it is the only oil in which it appears alone. People believed that this painting represented the painter in his youth when he was still a disciple of Perugino. It is preserved in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
The Beautiful Gardener
In this oil painting, Rafael painted the Virgin accompanied by Jesus and Saint John in an orchard full of plants. Hence, it becomes the name of the painting. There is also a pyramidal composition in which the three characters look sweetly.
It is one of Rafael's works that best shows the mastery in composition and expression, as well as the serenity characteristic of the painter's art. It can be seen in the National Gallery, London.
Raphael's stays in the Vatican
In 1508, Pope Julius II commissioned Rafael (who was only 25 years old) to decorate his Vatican quarters. For this reason, the painter moved to Rome, where he lived for 12 years, until the end of his days.
The first of the rooms he began to paint is the Stanza della Signatura, which is still considered Rafael's great masterpiece. In it, you can see three magnificent frescoes: The school of Athens, El Parnaso and The dispute of the Sacrament.
The School of Athens
It is one of Rafael's best-known works. In it, you can see the most important philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians of the classical era: You will notice Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras or Heraclitus, and more.
As a curiosity, we can point out that, in the fresco, we can also see the painter Miguel Ángel and Rafael himself.
The Sacrament Dispute
This work was the first Rafael made in Stanza della Signatura. This fresco could be interpreted as the opposite of the School of Athens. It would represent the theological truth versus philosophical truth.
In the upper part, you can see the Eucharist, and in the lower area, you can see some of the fathers of the Church, including Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome, or Gregory the Great.
It is located in the northern part of the Stanza della Signatura. It shows the mythological Monte Parnaso, the sacred mountain where Apollo and the nine muses reside. Also appear poets of classical Antiquity and others much later, such as Dante or Petrarca.
Rafael did it in 1511. He was, thus, the third fresco to be painted in the room, after the dispute of the Sacrament and the School of Athens.
Mass of Bolsena
This fresco is found in the so-called Raphael stays but also in the Stanzia di Eliodoro. It shows a miracle that happened in 1263. It reflects the moment when a somewhat skeptical priest celebrates a mass in the city of Bolsena and, during the consecration, begins to flow blood from the host.
The liberation of St. Peter
It represents the liberation of St. Peter from the prison of Agrippa I the Great (known as Herod in the New Testament). Some facts are recounted in three different scenes. Rafael had the help of Giulio Romano, one of his assistants, to paint this fresco in 1514.
The fire of Borgo
This fresco gives its name to another room of the Vatican Stays, the Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo. It represents the miracle attributed to Pope Leo IV in 847. People believed that after making the sign of the cross, he managed to quell a fire.
It is a fresco in which more movement is perceived than in other works. For the most part, it was made by Giulio Romano, following Rafael's sketches.
Other works by Rafael
The triumph of Galatea
It represents Galatea and the triumph of platonic love. This is represented by angels, while carnal love is shown in the form of newts, centaurs, and nereids. Galatea, with a serene look, appears on a shell carried by dolphins.
Rafael painted this fresco in 1511, during his stay at Villa Farnesina, in the Roman quarter of Trastevere.
In this canvas, the Virgin, the Child Jesus, Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara are represented on a bed of clouds. Locals believed that this work was conceived to decorate the tomb of Pope Julius II since St. Sixtus was the patron of his family.
The name of San Sixto comes from Latin and means "six," the number of figures that appears on the canvas. It is located in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden (Germany).
So, which Raphael works you like the most? Let us know in the comment below!