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The Cover
March 17, 1999

The School of Athens

JAMA. 1999;281(11):969. doi:10.1001/jama.281.11.969

Three men—two from Florence and one from a small Umbrian town—dominate Renaissance painting so thoroughly that their names have become nearly synonymous with the period. All were born in the second half of the 15th century. When the youngest, Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520), was born in Urbino, the eldest, Leonardo da Vinci, was already in his thirties; Michelangelo Buonarroti was a boy of nine. Today, whether from too many bad imitations, or too much familiarity, or simply perhaps from a too-deceptive facileness, the work of Raphael is often dismissed in favor of that of the two Florentines. Yet it is Raphael who epitomizes the Renaissance at its height, whose work forms the capstone for the two-decade span at the beginning of the 16th century that marked the time of the most feverish activity as well as the highest achievement of the period.