Raphael, ‘Madonna on the Meadow’, 1505-1506, Art History 101

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About Raphael

Raphael exemplifies High Renaissance painting with his grand renderings of the Madonna in landscape settings the figurative scenes with which he decorated the Vatican. His celebrated depiction of Plato, Aristotle, and other sages in his School of Athens (1510-12) fresco for the Vatican reflects the inspiration he drew from Classical ideals of beauty and composition. The soft round faces of his subjects reveal human sentiment, while exuding sublime perfection and serenity, as illustrated by Madonna on the Meadow (1505). Over time he began to arrange figures in a signature pyramid configuration, and gradually increased their movement and psychological interplay. Though he owed much to his venerable teachers Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, in particular the latter’s use of chiaroscuro and sfumato, Raphael is considered the most versatile and prolific of the triumvirate.

Italian, 1483-1520, Urbino, Italy, based in Rome, Italy

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