Raphael From Urbino to Rome
Raphael was born in the small but artistically significant Central Italian city of Urbino in the Marche region, where his father Giovanni Santi was court painter to the Duke. The reputation of the court had been established by Federico III da Montefeltro, a highly successful condottiere who had been created Duke of Urbino by the Popeâ€”Urbino formed part of the Papal Statesâ€”and
who died the year before Raphael was born.
The emphasis of Federico's
court was rather more literary than artistic, but Giovanni Santi was a
poet of sorts as well as a painter, and had written a rhymed chronicle
of the life of Federico, and both wrote the texts and produced the
decor for masque-like
court entertainments. His poem to Federico shows him as keen to show
awareness of the most advanced North Italian painters, and Early Netherlandish artists
as well. In the very small court of Urbino he was probably more
integrated into the central family circle than most court painters.