A previously unpublished reconstruction of the child prodigy's youth in Urbino, the cultural influence of the ducal court and his close ties with his birthplace throughout his artistic career.
This catalogue contains numerous essays by leading Raphael scholars and in-depth critical appraisals of masterpieces by the maestro himself and his circle, drawn from major museums around the world (Metropolitan in New York, National Gallery in London, Kunsthistorisches in Vienna, the Uffizi and the Vatican Museums) and shown in a special exhibition in the Salone del Trono in Palazzo Ducale in Urbino. The first section focuses on the artistic and cultural environment in which Raphael learnt his trade and his father Giovanni Santi worked. He was the owner of a rich and flourishing workshop, a court painter, a man of letters and the author of the famous Cronaca in which he expressed influential judgements on his contemporary artists. The book begins by investigating the first commissions of the “divine painter”, who inherited his father’s workshop, flanked by Evangelista di Piandimeleto. New archive records shed fresh light on Rapahel’s unbroken link (cultural influence, financial interests) with Urbino: from the presence of Bramante, a strong supporter of his career in Rome as was Baldassarre Castiglione to the influence of other members of the Duke’s circle such as Girolamo Genga and Timoteo Viti. It counters the theory of an exclusive apprenticeship with Perugino and highlights Raphael’s relationship with his father and the cultural hub that was Palazzo Ducale, with its illustrious habitués and art collections.