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Description - Raphael by Claire Van Cleave

Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520) was a member of the elite group of Italian Renaissance masters which also included his prominent rivals Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Born in Urbino where his father was court artist, he moved to Florence as a young man and there established his reputation by painting a series of Virgin and Child compositions. Four years later he was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II to decorate his private apartments in the Vatican. His meteoric rise at the papal court inflamed the jealousy of Michelangelo, whose style Raphael was able to adopt and then make his own. For the next eighteen years Raphael was indispensable to Julius and his successor Leo X - not only as a painter, but also as a designer of tapestries, architect of St Peter's and even procurer of antiquities, dominating the arts in Rome until his untimely death on his 37th birthday. Raphael had an exceptional artistic eye and a gift for absorbing the styles of other artists and adapting them to his own means and purposes. Draughtsmanship was the foundation of his immensely successful career, and the British Museum holds an excellent collection of his drawings. Beginning with an introduction to the life of the artist, this beautifully illustrated book presents a chronological selection of Raphael's drawings including early figure studies, demonstrating his astonishing mastery of naturalistic movement. It then explores his working methods and shows how he incorporated the influences of his famous peers into his own inimitable style. The development of Raphael's ideas through his drawings gives insight into the mind and method of a fascinating and much-admired artist.

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