To ask why Raphael matters today is to ask why art matters

At the age of 16, he would be described as a ‘master’ in his own right... by the age of 37 he would be dead. The renowned Italian painter died 500 years ago today. Kevin Childs reflects upon the man, his art and his enduring legacy

Sunday 05 April 2020 11:38
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The ‘Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple’ (detail), c 1512, Vatican Museums
The ‘Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple’ (detail), c 1512, Vatican Museums

Raphael Santi of Urbino, who died on 6 April 1520, was one of the most influential artists of all time. Yet his life and work represented an impossible ideal: tensions between past and present, war and peace, status and identity, and love and life, which played out in the brilliant colours he used to portray moments of psychological intensity. Through the prism of those colours most associated with Raphael – black, red, gold and blue – this article reflects upon the man, his art and his legacy.

Black

Good Friday, 6 April 1520.

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