We have been looking at fifteen pictures designed by Raphael. They are but a few of the great number painted either wholly or in part by the master, or painted by his pupils from designs and sketches made by him. He was thirty-seven years old when he died, and it was said that he died on his birthday. His life was brimful of activity as a painter.

The portrait which stands at the beginning of this little book was painted by himself at the age of twenty-three, for his mother's brother, whom he was wont to call his "second father." An English poet, Samuel Rogers, in his poem "Italy," has these lines which describe it prettily:—

"His heavenly face a mirror of his mind,
His mind a temple for all lovely things
To flock to and inhabit."

One of his contemporaries, Vasari, wrote a book of "Lives of the Painters," and thus he speaks of Raphael: "All confessed the influence of his sweet and gracious nature, which was so replete with excellence, and so perfect in all the charities, that not only was he honored by men, but even by the very animals, who would constantly follow his steps, and always loved him."

If we think of what was happening to Raphael in the year 1506, when he painted this portrait, perhaps we shall read more truthfully the expression in his face. Seven years before he had entered the studio of Perugino, and had begun to learn from that master and to show something of his own power. Two years before he had made his first visit to Florence, and there he saw some of the great pictures by Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo, and had a new conception of what art could do.

He had already shown the effect upon him in some of his greatest Madonnas, and he stood now on the threshold of a great career. New ambitions awoke within him; new ideals flashed upon his inner vision. Modest and gentle though he was, he felt a growing consciousness of his own power.

So he holds his head high; not haughtily, but with a dignified self-confidence. His eyes seem to see the visions of which he dreams; his mouth is half parted as if in expectancy. Happy and lovable, there is a sweet thoughtfulness in his air which gives promise of his wonderful performance.