(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

Sposalizio (detail)

Oil on roundheaded panel
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

The object of a vandal's attack some years ago, the signed and dated Marriage is a particularly beloved painting by Raphael, one of the unqualified favourites of the Renaissance. In it, Raphael makes the transition from a highly skilled but devoted follower of Perugino in the local Umbrian manner, to an artist who represents the epitome of the Renaissance. This painting was executed immediately before Raphael's trip to Florence where he experienced firsthand the sculpture of Donatello as well as the art of his most famous older contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The figures, with their small oval heads upon which tiny features are applied, seem to come directly from his teacher's idiom.