This course will explore an artist who is still seen as the epitome of the ideals that aligned themselves with the term Renaissance. We will chart the rise of Raphael beginning before his birth with the work of his father Giovanni Santi to the introduction of Raphael into the Santi studio. We will discuss his early works and influence looking at contemporaries such as Perugino and the part they may have played in those formative years. Raphael’s obsession with drawing and the integral part it played in his invention, design and printed works will also be explored but the tumultuous period of the Renaissance and Raphael’s part cannot be told without refence to Michelangelo and Leonardo and the competition that ensued between these great Renaissance masters. We will look at the triumph of the Vatican frescoes, the patronage of the popes, the acrimonious battle between Raphael and Michelangelo, Raphael’s final years and the legacy of his life and works.
“I have loved this course. Despite the breadth of the subject, Leslie made it “manageable” and despite his detailed examination of some works and artists, the pace never flagged. The course was notably well-structured, allowing participation with sketchy knowledge of iconography to recognize references via a broad range of paintings”
24 Sep 2024 – Raphael the Early Years: From Divine Birth to His Father’s Studio (1483-1501)
This session will begin with an introduction to the late altarpieces and fresco works of Raphael’s father, Giovanni Santi, and Raphael’s own introduction into his father’s studio. The session will also look at early painting in the town of Raphael’s birth (Urbino) by artists such as, Piero della Francesca (1416 – 1492) and Justus of Ghent (c.1410 – 1480) whose works of art were created under the patronage of the powerful Montefeltro dynasty before Raphael’s birth. We will then look at Raphael’s own early works in the context of these developments.
01 Oct 2024 – The Raphael Workshop: Beyond His Father and The Influence of Perugino
Here we will look at Raphael’s altarpieces, his work in Perugia and the relationship between Raphael and Pietro Perugino (c.1469 – 1523), his study of work by older living artists such as, Luca Signorelli (c. 1441/1445 –1523) and Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), as well as his interest in Donatello, Masaccio, Desiderio da Settignano, Luca della Robbia, Antonio del Pollaiuolo and Andrea del Verrocchio.
08 Oct 2024 – Raphael and The Antique: A Secular and Religious Life
Raphael’s appointment by Pope Leo X as the overseer of all archaeological excavations in and around Rome on 27 August 1515 confirmed and consolidated his ongoing involvement with the world of antiquities. We will look at the parallel evolvement of Raphael’s religious and secular works in this context and the increasing impact these seemingly opposite strands of interest had on him and fellow artists around him.
15 Oct 2024 – Raphael and The Art of Disegno: Divine Inspiration
This session will bring some of Raphael’s paintings and drawings together, overlaying them to demonstrate the evolution of his designs, while also exploring the varied drawing techniques he used to create them and how they would eventually enable him to take his ideas from paper to canvas and to fresco.
22 Oct 2024 – Raphael: In the Orbit of Michelangelo and Leonardo
We will explore this Renaissance triumvirate placing Raphael within the context of new techniques and developments in artistic production pioneered in the renowned Renaissance workshops of the 1470’s of Antonio (about 1432 – 1498) and Piero (c.1443 – 1496) Pollaiuolo, Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449 – 1494) and Andrea del Verrocchio (c.1435 – 1488). Out of these studios came Raphael’s contemporary rivals – Michelangelo and Leonardo, a period that culminated in the zenith of the High Renaissance Bottega and ultimately Raphael’s own highly productive workshop.
29 Oct 2024 – The Circle of Raphael: Influential Friends
Despite the fierce competition between artists in C16th Italy, Raphael established a friendship group within his generation which included Fra Bartolomeo (1472 – 1517), Ridolfo Ghirlandaio (1483 – 1561) and Bastiano da Sangallo (1481 – 1551) who like him were descended from established artistic families. This session will explore their artistic relationships.
05 Nov 2024 – Raphael and High Renaissance: The Florentine Years
Raphael’s commissions for major Florentine families form the backdrop to this High Renaissance period. The works commissioned by at least five of those families still survive and the documentary evidence by Giorgio Vasari in this instance seems to be largely accurate. We will trace the origins of these works back to those families such as Taddeo Taddei and Lorenzo Nasi.
12 Nov 2024 – Raphael and The Popes: Portraiture and Patronage
With the unveiling of the Pope Julius II portrait in 1511, Raphael changed the entire landscape of papal portraiture. We will look at how the evolution of this work compared to those that came before and discern what it is about the portrait that would see generations of artists adopt this style.
19 Nov 2024 – Raphael and High Renaissance Fresco: The Vatican Years
In his lifetime Raphael’s father, Giovanni Santi, had completed many frescos, and now Raphael would distil what he had learnt from this into producing the great fresco cycles for the Vatican including, La Disputa, Parnassus and the now famous so-called ‘School of Athens’. We will look at the origins and formation of these frescos, the stories within them, what they can tell us about Renaissance society and why such subjects appealed to the Popes responsible for their commissioning.
26 Nov 2024 – Raphael: Competition and Legacy – The Final Years
In the final session will look at Raphael’s tumultuous battle with Michelangelo and the struggle to finish his last great works including the Transfiguration altarpiece. However, in much the same way that others took the designs of Michelangelo as their starting point to develop their own work, we will look at artists, such as Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640) who took Raphael’s work from the 16thC into the 17thC in what would become known as the Baroque period.