Italian painter and architect



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Italian painter and architect

Birth Date

April 06, 1483

Death Date

April 06, 1520


Raphael, the painter, not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, was both a master Renaissance painter and a master of our hearts.

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known purely as Raphael because last names are for kooks, was born on April 6, 1483 in Urbino, Italy, which, not to brag, was kind of a cultural center at the time. Raphael’s father was the court painter for the Duke of Urbino and taught him some basic painting skills and “exposed him to the principles of humanistic philosophy at the Duke of Urbino’s court.” This wasn’t super helpful as a 10 year old but came in handy later. Raphael’s mother died when he was eight years old followed by his father when he was 11 years old. But little Raphie actually did fine as an orphan. He took over his father’s workshop and became such a talented painter that he got an apprenticeship with a painter by the name of Perugino. By the time Raphael was 17, he earned the title of master.

Then in his 20’s, Raphael did the 16th century equivalent of moving to New York. By this I mean he moved to Florence to really give his art a shot. There he was exposed to Leonardo da Vinci, an artist that he thought of “as a mentor and father figure” and Michelangelo, who became his arch-nemesis. While in Florence, Raphael made a series of Madonnas in a style much like da Vinci’s. Then he got the most important call of his career (letter actually because 16th century). Pope Julius II wanted Raphael to paint the Stanza della Segnatura, the private rooms in the Palace of the Vatican. This is where Raphael did his most famous frescos – The Triumph of Religion and The School of Athens. Rumor has it that he also painted something naughty in the bathroom for the pope’s… private use for his own… private reasons. It was porn.

Raphael was actually a pretty suave and handsome guy. His biographer, Giorgio Vasari wrote that “Raphael was very amorous and fond of women and was always swift to serve them.” One woman in particular made him what we would call today a sex maniac. Her name was Margarita Luti, and she was a baker’s daughter. Raphael was engaged to someone else for most of his life. She was the daughter of one of his patrons, though, so he felt obliged to marry her. But he never did because he just couldn’t get over Margarita, who was the model and muse of his La Fornarina. His love for this woman would ultimately lead to his literal downfall. It’s rumored that after a night of vigorous sex, Raphael caught a fever that eventually killed him on his 37th birthday. Whatta way to go...



  1. "Raphael." Biography. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Sept. 2018.
  2. Jones, Jonathan. "Raphael, The Artist Killed By Sex?" the Guardian. N.p., 2009. Web. 27 Sept. 2018.
  3. Riding, Alan. "In Raphael Exhibition, Women Do The Talking." N.p., 2001. Web. 26 Sept. 2018.
  4. Vartanian, Hrag. "Wait, Raphael Painted Porn At The Vatican?." Hyperallergic. N.p., 2011. Web. 27 Sept. 2018.


Full name was Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, but like Madonna and Prince, everyone knows him as just "Raphael."

His dad was court painter and poet to the Duke of Urbino (when you are a Duke in Italy in the 1490’s, you get a court painter – it’s an unwritten rule). Raphael painted the frescos on the walls and ceiling of the Pope’s private library at the same time that Michaelangelo painted the Sistine chapel. Raphael had a buddy with a key and they secretly snuck into the Sistine chapel to check out Michelangelo’s progress. Michelangelo later accused Raphael of plagiarism and said "everything he knew about art he got from me." Dramaaa. Michelangelo hated Raphael and spread nasty rumors about him. The two were bitter rivals.


Raphael had a talent for management and ran a huge workshop with 50 artists. Unfortunately, the workshop was destroyed and several of the artists were killed during one of the biggest clusterf**ks of all time, the Sack of Rome in 1527. Raphael himself died in a much more pleasant way, if such a thing can be said, “after a long night of sex with his mistress.” Unfortunately, that was followed by a 15 day long fever and his ultimate demise. He was only 37. He was also the only Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle who was not gay (or at least the only one who was known to have slept with women). Not that it got him anywhere good...


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Raphael

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Italian: [raffaˈɛllo ˈsantsjo da urˈbiːno]; March 28 or April 6, 1483 – April 6, 1520), known as Raphael (/ˈræfəl/, US: /ˈræfiəl, ˌrɑːfˈɛl/), was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop and, despite his death at 37, leaving a large body of work. Many of his works are found in the Vatican Palace, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. The best known work is The School of Athens in the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura. After his early years in Rome much of his work was executed by his workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking.

After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models. His career falls naturally into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria, then a period of about four years (1504–1508) absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Raphael.