Raphael — or Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, to give him his full name — was an Italian Renaissance painter and architect. His enormously productive career began in early childhood when he was apprenticed to the Umbrian artist Pietro Perugino. So precocious was his talent that he was considered to be a fully-trained ‘master’ by the age of 18.
His style, which displays the influence of Perugino and the Florentine School, was widely admired for its lucidity and the grandeur and dignity it bestowed on its subjects. His work includes church altarpieces, the ‘Stanze’ or ‘Raphael Rooms’ of the Vatican and many commissioned portraits. He ran what may well have been the largest workshop of a master painter, a group of 50 pupils and assistants.