500 Years of Raphael: Review by Hannah

This was a 1-hour-long online event focusing on the works and people that Raphael has influenced with his works for the 500 years he has been dead for. Again, due to lockdown restrictions, this event was presented remotely. I attended with my brother on 21st January 2021. The main art form was oil paints, the medium used most frequently by Raphael. However, some of his earliest painting were done in egg tempera.


I was expecting the event to be about Raphael’s life, much like the event featuring Vincent Van Gogh. However, I was surprised to hear the event had a small focus on the works and artists that have been influenced by the works of Raphael for the 500 years that have passed since he died as well as Raphael’s life.

I learnt that he was born into painter’s family, so his father was a painter. Sadly, he was orphaned by 11 years old. His first painting was bright, colourful and full of character. He move to Florence, like many artists did, in 1504. Throughout his painting career, his artwork was focused on Madonnas and various depictions of angels and the Christ child.

A painting structure that was popular at the time was a triadic composition, perhaps with a Madonna in the middle surrounded by two angels. This structure also incorporated the interplay of glances, perhaps with the Madonna and two angels all glancing towards the central Christ child. They also usually featured muted colours.

After painting several pieces that resembled this style, Raphael realised that he preferred painting with brighter colours, and usually pieces that took place in the day.

Some people that have been inspired by his works are photographers, many of whom discovered the power of geometric structures and the interplay of glances from his paintings, which encouraged many to experiment with this in their own compositions. Other artists have been influenced by the movement Raphael was able to capture in his works, both passionate and soft movements.

Something I found particularly interesting is that Raphael was often referred to as “an angel who fell from heaven,” due to the religious nature of his paintings and how he portrayed such a sense of harmony in his pieces.

I found this event very interesting, particularly haw it not only told us about Raphael’s life but also the impact his works have had on other artists, and the world.



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