Raphael contributed to the Renaissance through the paintings, frescoes and architecture he created and designed throughout his career. He is considered one of the greatest artists of the period, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
Raphael was born in 1483 and studied under the painter Perugino in Umbria, Italy. One of Raphael's earliest paintings, the Marriage of the Virgin, is an homage to Perugino's painting, which covers the same subject. Perugino's works emphasized gracefulness, light and pure colors, and Raphael learned and enhanced his techniques.
Raphael then moved to Florence, where he was influenced by the painter Masaccio. From this painter, Raphael learned how to better group his characters in a work. He also learned techniques from Michelangelo and Leonardo. While Raphael was in Florence, he painted The Entombment, The Madonna of the Meadow and other works.
Art historians consider Raphael's greatest works to have come late in his brief life. He painted frescoes in the Vatican for Pope Julius II. Among them are The School of Athens and Parnassus. In 1514, Pope Leo X named him the chief architect of St. Peter's Church in Rome.
Among Raphael's great works are his Alba Madonna, Galatea and Portrait of Castiglione. Raphael died in 1520.