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.
Southgate MT. The School of Athens. JAMA. 1999;281(11):969. doi:10.1001/jama.281.11.969
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