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Raphael Sanzio or Raffaello (April 6, 1483 – April 6, 1520) was an Italian master painter and architect of the Florentine school in High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings. He was also called Raffaello Sanzio, Raffaello Santi, Raffaello da Urbino or Rafael Sanzio da Urbino. He died aged 37.
Early life and work
Raphael was born in Urbino. The surname Sanzio derives from the latinization of the Italian, Santi, into Santius (also, when signing solely using his baptismal name, "Raphael"). His father, Giovanni Santi, was also a painter in the court of Urbino.
In 1491, his mother Màgia died; his father died on August 1, 1494, having already remarried. Thus orphaned at eleven, Raphael was entrusted to his uncle Bartolomeo, a priest. He had already shown talent, according to Giorgio Vasari - he tells that since childhood Raphael had been "a great help to his father". His father's workshop continued and probably together with his stepmother, Raphael evidently played a part in managing it from a very early age. He is described as a "master" in 1501. In Urbino he came into contact with the works of Paolo Uccello and Luca Signorelli. According to Vasari, his father placed him in Umbrian master Pietro Perugino's workshop as an apprentice "despite the tears of his mother"; the subsequent influence of Perugino on Raphael's early work is most obvious. The evidence of an apprenticeship comes only from Vasari, and has been disputed. But most modern historians agree that Raphael worked as an assistant to Perugino around 1500.
His first documented work was an altarpiece for the church of San Nicola of Tolentino in Città di Castello, a town halfway between Perugia and Urbino. It was ordered in 1500 and finished in 1501 (it was later seriously damaged during an earthquake in 1789 and today only fragments of it remain). In the following years he painted works for other churches there (like the Wedding of the Virgin, today in the Brera) and for Perugia.