The Creative Spirit spans time. Periodically on Artist Strong I will showcase a creative from history. Working from the same kinds of questions, I will research and share how these creatives across history and geography may have answered our questions about creative process. I hope you enjoy today’s Creative Spirit Showcase: Raphaello Sanzio

Raphaello Sanzio, known by many as Raphael, was a painter in the High Renaissance. He is famous today for his fresco The School of Athens as well as his many Madonna paintings.

Raphaello Sanzio, known by many as Raphael, was an artist in the High Renaissance. He is famous for his fresco The School of Athens as well as his Madonna paintings.

Self-Portrait of Raphael as a young man, courtesy wikimedia commons

Carrie: When did you first realize your interest in the arts?

When I was young I spent a lot of time in my father’s studio. He was an artist. In fact, I began to help him with his work and my family noted my skill in the arts. He died when I was 11 and my stepmother encouraged my further study and helped me gain an apprenticeship with Perugino.

Carrie: How would you describe your work to Artist Strong readers?

When I first started, I was very interested in the idea of the Madonna. How could I embody the purity and chastity of such a holy woman? I created many Madonna paintings for this reason. As time passed, my work took on other narratives, where I began to look at the intersection of both faith and science. I am a prime example of the style of the HIgh Renaissance. Vasari himself, who idolizes Michelangelo, has said I’m the best painter of the Renaissance.

Carrie: Where do you get ideas for content?

My work is commissioned. I do extensive drawing for both my oil paintings and my frescos. When I am planning ideas out, based on the commissioner’s wishes, I will draw in chalk, silverpoint or pen and ink to begin brainstorming composition and practice figural work. Early in my career I secretly dissected human cadavers to better understand the human figure. It’s part of why my work is so good.

Carrie: How do your interests outside of art fuel your artwork?

Now that I’m established I spend time socializing and at parties. While I’m engaged to the Cardinal’s niece, I really have no interest in getting married. There are many beautiful women in this world.


Raphael, School of Athens: Raphael, School of Athens, fresco, 1509-1511 (Stanza della Segnatura, Papal Palace, Vatican) Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker, Dr. Beth Harris

Carrie: How does collaboration help and/or hinder your art?

I always want to impress my patrons. If I am to be the best, I must do work that astounds. Thankfully, after creating The School of Athens, I was able to manage my own studio with nearly 50 assistants. It’s the largest studio anywhere in Italy.

I don’t work with other artists, but I do take the best of their skills and understanding to enhance my own art. I use Leonardo’s sfumato, a technique for shading, but I’ve added my own twist. And I will admit, as much as Michelangelo and I don’t get along, I admire his Sistene Chapel ceiling. His compositions influenced some of my work in the Papal apartments.

Raphaello Sanzio, known by many as Raphael, was an artist in the High Renaissance. He is famous for his fresco The School of Athens as well as his Madonna paintings.

La Belle Jardiniere by Raphael courtesy wikimedia commons

Carrie: What strategies do you use to help yourself when you feel “stuck?”

I don’t have time to be stuck. I have many commissions from important people and I have plenty of parties to attend!

The Pope gave me commissions for his apartments after he hired other artists. I was instructed to destroy their work if needed. When you are offered this kind of esteem and respect, you can’t be stuck.

Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?

My drive for success. I will be the best artist Italy and the world has ever known. In my recent years I’ve been awarded some architectural assignments and I supervise St. Peter’s Cathedral. It is because of my drive and determination to create quality artwork that I’ve succeeded.

Carrie: How do you define Creativity?

Creativity is taking the best skills and techniques from experts around you and improving upon them.

“Creativity is taking the best skills and techniques from experts around you and improving upon them.” (Click to Tweet)

Be Courageously Creative: Is there an artist or artists you wish to learn from to improve upon your own art? Tell me who they are and what you hope to learn in the comments below.

Resources for today’s “interview:”

http://www.biography.com/people/raphael-41051#paintings

http://www.raphaelsanzio.org/biography.html

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artists/raphael

http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/artists/503/raphael-raffaello-sanzio-italian-1483-1520/

https://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/gg20/gg20-main1.html

http://study.com/academy/lesson/biography-of-raphael-paintings-architecture-major-works.html

http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/bio/r/raphael/biograph.html

http://www.britannica.com/biography/Raphael-Italian-painter-and-architect

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2009/nov/25/raphael-art-sex

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