The execution of a vast number of studies in a variety of techniques was Raphael's standard practice. In an elaborate process, he first made rapid sketches, then more finished drawings and finally highly polished models for transfer. The number of the extant drawings is over four hundred, however, this is only a fraction of the quantity he produced. There was a variety of drawing media and techniques practiced in his time, and he explored and mastered all his options.
During his association with Perugino's workshop he acquired proficiency in the use of silverpoint, a method in which the metal tip of a stylus is worked on a prepared ground applied to the paper. It is a highly disciplined procedure that demands superior skill. Raphael displayed great virtuosity with silverpoint, and continued its use into his mature period.
Raphael first used pen and ink extensively in the period after 1505, when he was open to the influence of Leonardo's and Michelangelo's approaches to drawing. Drawings in pen and ink often combined washes in ink or lead white, applied with a brush, in order to add tonal qualities.
Raphael employed black chalk from the time of his earliest drawings, while he came to the consistent use of red chalk later in his work, starting from around 1514. Red chalk can be sharpened to a hard point and handled like a stylus; manipulated differently, it renders very delicate and extensive modulations of tone. In some of Raphael's studies, outlines from a stylus lie under the red chalk drawing.
Drawings had a crucial function in the realization of Raphael's art. They were not only the patterns for final works, but the means of their development; they shaped the creative process at the same time as they documented it. And, considering the vast projects executed collaboratively, they were the guarantee of the identification of the final product with the master who conceived the design.
|Summary of works by Raphael|
|Paintings in Umbria and Florence|
|up to 1504 | 1505-06 (Florence) | 1507-08 (Florence) | 1505-08 (Umbria)|
|Decoration of the Stanze|
|Segnatura | Eliodoro | Borgo | Constantino|
|Paintings in Rome|
|1509-12 | 1513-14 | 1515-17 | Loggia | Villa Farnesina | 1518-20|
|Tapestries and cartoons | Drawings|