Within the last forty years the methods of criticism as applied to art have undergone so many changes that there has been a rapid succession of biographers and critics of Raphael until the student reader of to-day scarcely knows whom to believe. The time was when Vasari, in his important "Lives of the Painters," was the accepted source of information, and all current writers borrowed unquestioningly from him both facts and opinions; but the old chronicler was too often influenced by popular gossip and personal prejudice to be depended upon. Many of his stories are positively disproved by documentary evidence, and for some years he has stood in dust and disgrace on the upper shelves of the bookcase. From this exile a revised edition has recently brought him forth to fresh honors. The joint work of Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Blashfield with A. A. Hopkins has given us an annotated text which we may read with equal pleasure and profit. This is certainly the best of all reference books to put us in touch with the period in which Raphael lived.

The German work on Raphael by Passavant, once so weighty, is now useful only to those who have opportunity to compare it with other authorities. So likewise the work of Crowe and Cavalcaselle is no longer desirable as a sole authority. Even the splendid work of Eugene Müntz (translated by Walter Armstrong), the latest and most valuable of the comprehensive books on Raphael, must be read in the light of later criticism. Müntz's volume contains a complete list of the master's works,—frescoes, easel pictures, tapestries, drawings, and works in architecture and sculpture,—each class subdivided according to subject.

A few of the shorter biographies of Raphael have been corrected according to the conclusions of the most recent critical scholarship, as represented by Morelli. Notable among these is the life of Raphael in Kugler's "Handbook of the Italian Schools," revised by A. H. Layard, and the life of Raphael included in Mrs. Jameson's "Early Italian Painters," revised by Estelle M. Hurll.

The latest entirely new short biographies of Raphael are those (1) by Mrs. Henry Ady (Julia Cartwright), issued in two parts as monographs for "The Portfolio:" the "Early Work of Raphael" and "Raphael in Rome," and (2) by H. Knackfuss in a series of German "Künstler-Monographien" (also published in an English translation). Both are well illustrated and useful books.

Finally the student is referred to Bernhard Berenson's "Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance" for an exceedingly valuable estimate of Raphael's character as an artist.

Many books have been written on the separate works of Raphael,—the Vatican frescoes, the cartoons, the Madonnas, etc.,—but as most of these are in German and Italian they are not generally available. The Blashfield Vasari enumerates a long list of them in the Bibliography preceding the "Life of Raphael."