To understand what it felt like to be in Italy during the Renaissance, as Europe moved from the Middle Ages to the modern era, simply imagine sitting front row at a ballpark Beatles show, but instead of experiencing the art through guitars and microphones, picture a bursting panorama of towering portraits, divine ceilings and electric colors, which brought the beauty, pain and hope of the human experience into newfound focus.
Thanks in part to Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) we can place ourselves in that corner of time during the 15th and 16 centuries when art, philosophy and innovation set us on a path to the world we live in today; and even more astonishing: the master artist only lived to be 37 but somehow made an indelible impact, as his art continues to ripple through the hearts and minds of those who lay their eyes upon it.
The young man from the walled city of Urbino, a Renaissance incubator which is now a World Heritage Site, was born in 1483 and passed away in 1520 from malaria.
Five hundred years later, curators have come together in Rome to create the Scuderie del Quirinale, a blockbuster exhibition that celebrates his life and transformative contributions. His works below offer just a glimpse of his thoughtful precision laid beautifully bare on plaster and canvas.
Raphael came up in the shadow of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, but grew to become the most appreciated artist of his time among European elites and Catholic dignitaries.
Known for his engaging personality, the widely popular artist was deemed the prince of painters up until the late 19th century, as critics began to scoff at his idealism.
However, the fall from grace was short lived, when a few decades later surrealists like Salvador Dali and Picasso channeled the style of the Italian painter to create masterpieces of their own.
His reputation was restored to its rightful place, and Raphael lives on as one of the most influential artists of all time.
Watch the documentary below to explore more of his works: