Raphael is a rare painter who was never out of fashion. This book addresses some of the interests of recent scholarship, which has changed the focus from concern with attribution and definition of Raphael's style and the classic style of the High Renaissance to more practical matters. Investigation of the intellectual and cultural history of sixteenth century Rome and Florence in the past generation have made it possible to put Raphael in the context of his patrons and his other contemporaries. Raphael managed what was no doubt the largest workshop to date and it provided the model for many artists who followed him. This leads us to an understanding of the privileging of invention over execution that takes place increasingly in the sixteenth century. Raphael became the model for artists, beginning already soon after his death and continuing after the collapse of the academic tradition in the late nineteenth century. This reverence is studied in the final section of this book, including an essay that traces changing tastes in restoring his paintings.
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This book examines the painter Raphael in terms of his patrons and contemporaries, and his enduring reputation over time. Along with Michelangelo, Raphael defined the artistic style that characterized the High Renaissance in Italy. The rules of academic painting were deduced from his works, and thus Raphael became the most copied painter in history.
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