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Raphael, 1483-1520

Italian High Renaissance Painter and Architect

St. George Fighting the Dragon
1504-06  Oil on wood, National Gallery of Art, Washington

   

About the Artist

Raphael was one of the greatest painters of the Renaissance. According to noted art historian and author,  Estelle M. Hurll "The subjects of his pictures are nearly all of a cheerful nature. He exercised his skill for the most part on scenes which were agreeable to contemplate. Pain and ugliness were strangers to his art; he was preeminently the artist of joy. This is to be referred not only to his pleasure-loving nature, but to the great influence upon him of the rediscovery of Greek art in his day, an art which dealt distinctively with objects of delight."

Moreover Raphael is compassionate towards mind as well as heart; he requires of us neither too strenuous feeling nor too much thinking. As his subjects do not overtax the sympathies with harrowing emotions, neither does his art overtax the understanding with complicated effects. His pictures are apparently so simple that they demand no great intellectual effort and no technical education to enjoy them. He does all the work for us, and his art is too perfect to astonish. It was not his way to show what difficult things he could do, but he made it appear that great art is the easiest thing in the world. This ease was, however, the result of a splendid mastery of his art. Thus he arranges the fifty-two figures in the School of Athens, or the three figures of the Madonna of the Chair, so simply and unobtrusively that we might imagine such feats were an every-day affair. Yet in both cases he solves most difficult problems of composition with a success scarcely paralleled in the history of art."

The Meaning of Sacred Symbols in  Paintings. Most prominently featured  symbols and their meaning:

 

 

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