His education was a cultivation of every grace of mind and hand. He assimilated freely whatever he found to be good in the art about him. A pupil of Perugino originally, he levied upon features of excellence in Masaccio, Fra Bartolommeo, Leonardo, Michael Angelo. From the first he got tenderness, from the second drawing, from the third color and composition, from the fourth charm, from the fifth force. Like an eclectic Greek he drew from all sources, and then blended and united these features in a peculiar style of his own and stamped them with his peculiar Raphaelesque stamp.

In subject Raphael was religious and mythological, but he was imbued with neither of these so far as the initial spirit was concerned. He looked at all subjects in a calm, intellectual, artistic way. Even the celebrated Sistine Madonna is more intellectual than pietistic, a Christian Minerva ruling rather than helping to save the world. The same spirit ruled him in classic and theological themes. He did not feel them keenly or execute them passionately—at least there is no indication of it in his work. The doing so would have destroyed unity, symmetry, repose. The theme was ever held in check by a regard for proportion and rhythm. To keep all artistic elements in perfect equilibrium, allowing no one to predominate, seemed the mainspring of his action, and in doing this he created that harmony which his admirers sometimes refer to as pure beauty.

For his period and school he was rather remarkable technically. He excelled in everything except brush-work, which was never brought to maturity in either Florence or Rome. Even in color he was fine for Florence, though not equal to the Venetians. In composition, modelling, line, even in texture painting (see his portraits) he was a man of accomplishment; while in grace, purity, serenity, loftiness he was the Florentine leader easily first.


The influence of Raphael's example was largely felt throughout Central Italy, and even at the north, resulting in many imitators and followers, who tried to produce Raphaelesque effects. Their efforts were usually successful in precipitating charm into sweetness and sentiment into sentimentality. Francesco Penni (1488?-1528) seems to have been content to work under Raphael with some ability. Giulio Romano (1492-1546) was the strongest of the pupils, and became the founder and leader of the Roman school, which had considerable influence upon the painters of the Decadence. He adopted the classic subject and tried to adopt Raphael's style, but he was not completely successful. Raphael's refinement in Giulio's hands became exaggerated coarseness. He was a good draughtsman, but rather hot as a colorist, and a composer of violent, restless, and, at times, contorted groups. He was a prolific painter, but his work tended toward the baroque style, and had a bad influence on the succeeding schools.

Primaticcio (1504-1570) was one of his followers, and had much to do with the founding of the school of Fontainebleau in France. Giovanni da Udine (1487-1564), a Venetian trained painter, became a follower of Raphael, his only originality showing in decorative designs. Perino del Vaga (1500-1547) was of the same cast of mind. Andrea Sabbatini (1480?-1545) carried Raphael's types and methods to the south of Italy, and some artists at Bologna, and in Umbria, like Innocenza da Imola (1494-1550?), and Timoteo di Viti (1467-1523), adopted the Raphael type and method to the detriment of what native talent they may have possessed, though about Timoteo there is some doubt whether he adopted Raphael's type, or Raphael his type.