Born Raffaello Sanzio in 1483 in Urbino, Italy, Raphael went on to work in Rome from 1508 to 1520, serving Pope Julius II and Pope Leo X.
Raphael died at the age of 37 on Good Friday, April 6, 1520. He is buried in the Pantheon, which had already been consecrated as the Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs, where the artist's tomb remains on display.
"He was brilliant and tremendously successful. When he died at the age of 37 he was already running the equivalent of a Fortune 500 company: the largest studio of the Renaissance," Lev said.
Earlier this year, the Vatican Museums displayed 10 of Raphael's tapestries in their original place in Sistine Chapel for one week. The tapestries, commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515, depict the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.
Raphael painted the Apostolic Palace at the same time as Michaeangelo was working on the Sistine Chapel
"Michelangelo was eight years his senior and was already working in the Sistine chapel when Raphael arrived to paint the apartments of Pope Julius. The two had completely different perspectives on painting. Raphael's was more similar to Leonardo's, with careful backgrounds and elegant compositions, while Michelangelo's figures were sculptural and monumental," Lev explained.
"As these two Titans clashed stylistically, the world's greatest works of art were born," she said.
The Sistine Chapel, the Pio Clementino Museum, the Chiaramonti Museum, the New Wing, the Niccoline Chapel, and the Room of the Chiaroscuri can also be viewed via virtual tour on the Vatican Museums website.
Rome's Scuderie del Quirinale exhibition center had also opened a major exhibition on Raphael this year, which brings together 200 works of art from Louvre, the Uffizi and elsewhere. This exhibition was forced to close 72 hours after its March 5 opening due to the Italian government's closure of all museums in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
A video posted on YouTube by the exhibition center allows quarantined Italians and art lovers around the world to catch a glimpse of the paintings displayed in this exhibition originally scheduled to end June 2.
"Most of us lead very busy lives that were abruptly halted by the quarantines. As we are all required to exercise the virtue of patience these days, we can also rediscover the skill of looking carefully at things, appreciating details and the value of serenity. And nowhere are those qualities better expressed than in the art of Raphael," Lev said.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.