Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520) An artist of the Renaissance


Raphael mostly worked for the Vatican and his work was largely renowned for its perfection and grace. He is considered a master among artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Raphael produced his finest work during the last few years of his life; the last painting he completed was The Transfiguration (1520).
Raphael died on April 6th of 1520, and was interred at the pantheon, his sarcophagus reads “Here lies that famous Raphael by whom nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die.”

The Transfiguration
This painting was commissioned in 1517 by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici. This artistic piece is divided into two distinctive parts, transfiguration relates to the successive stories told in the gospel of Matthew.

This painting displays the dual human and divine nature of Christ. The upper part of the painting shows the transfiguration of Christ as he is lifted in front of billowing illuminated clouds, and he is flanked by the prophets; Elijah and Moses. Below them lie Christ’s disciples dazed and sprawled.

The lower season depicts the miracle of the possessed boy, which takes place right after transfiguration; the apostles are shown to be unsuccessful in their attempts to heal the boy. The expressive bodily gestures and the glazed, open-eyed stare of the boy reveal the awful effects of his condition. The viewer should notice that the bright light from the upper half of the painting does not penetrate into the lower scene. Jesus heals the boy to demonstrate the power of faith and prayer.
The two halves of the painting are united as the crowd in the lower half indicates and acclaims Jesus by their gestures, thereby combining the two halves into one masterful piece.

The painting can also be interpreted as showing the flaws of men in the lower half and the redemptive power of Christ in the upper half.
The two figures kneeling to the left of Christ are martyrs, Saint Agapitus and Saint Felicissimus, who were deacons seized during the persecutions of Emperor Valerian.