Raphael’s portrayal of the Madonna changed the course of religious art in the Renaissance, and its influence extends to this day. Raphael was called the ‘Prince of Painters’ by the first art historian Giorgio Vasari. <ref> Vasari, Giorgio (2000). Lives of the Painters (London, Penguin, 2000), p. 178</ref> Others eclipsed his fame in the Baroque era, but he became extremely popular in the 19th century and was widely emulated.
==Raphael as an architect==Raphael was also
an important architect. He was appointed the chief architect of the Pope after the death of the great Donato Bramante (1440-1514). Raphael was to play an important role in the creation of Rome as we now know it , today. His first successful design was a chapel in the Church of Saint Eligio degli Orefici. Perhaps his most important work was the chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo Chapel, which can still be seen in St Peter’s. Raphael also designed several private villas and houses, but sadly none of these have survived , if they did, it is likely that his reputation as an architect would be higher. Raphael style owed much to Bramante, but he also incorporated many details and ornaments in his buildings. This encouraged other architects to design less austere and severe classical buildings, which was to become very popular during the Late Renaissance <ref>Vasari. p. 301</ref> . ==Raphael and the emergence of reproductive art== Raphael was not a printmaker, but he worked with one of the first printmakers Marcantonio Raimondi. The artist produced the drawing and they were then engraved by Raimondi, who had them printed. Together they produced many of the best-known prints of the Italian Renaissance. The artist was one of the first to make prints of his work and he played an important role in the rise of reproductive art or prints. He had prints made of some of his most important works such as the Massacre of the Innocents. Raphael was an innovator and perhaps the first great artist to recognize the importance of prints in the Renaissance.
[[File: Raphael 4.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Raphael’s Sistine Madonna]]
==Raphael and the conceptualization of modern art==
In the Middle Ages, painters and other artists were only regarded as craft persons or manual workers and had little or no social status. The Renaissance changed all this and led to the modern conception of the artists, that is someone who is gifted and can produce beautiful works that offer profound insights <ref> Burckhardt, J The culture of the civilization of the Italian Renaissance (Penguin, London, 1995), p 34</ref>. During the Renaissance painters and others attained a new status and rank. Raphael was one of the first to be regarded in this light. Unlike his predecessors, he was famous and was a well-known personality in Rome. He was indeed something of a celebrity, in his time. Moreover, he was a close friend of the great and the powerful. At one time it was even proposed that he be appointed a Cardinal and became a confidant of Pope Julius II. Raphael was a charismatic and attractive character and he did much to redefine the role of the artist in Renaissance society<ref>Vasari. p. 301</ref>. He was to demonstrate that the visual arts, such as painting were superior to the crafts. Raphael in works such as the School of Athens showed that the painting could deal with serious subjects and provide a unique experience. While in his religious paintings he demonstrated that art could be uplifting. The Urbino born artist helped to change the way that people experienced art. Raphael played a very important role in the conception of what is the nature of art and its value to society.
Raphael was a true Renaissance man and remains one of the most popular of all the artists, from that period. He is synonymous with grace and elegance. Today, he is not as highly regarded and other artists such as Titian are even regarded as his superior. Yet Raphael was a great painter and he produced many masterpieces. His mastery of technique and his emotional realism was revolutionary and changed the history of Renaissance art. He was possibly the most decisive influence on the painting of the Later Renaissance, while he changed the nature of religious art and portraiture. Raphael was also an innovator and he was a pioneer in prints, a fine architect and was one of the first who sought to preserve the built heritage of Rome. His life and work were crucial in the emergence of the modern idea of the artist and the nature of art.
Goffen, Rona. Renaissance Rivals: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian. (Yale University Press, Yale, 2002).
Liebert, Robert S. "Raphael, Michelangelo, Sebastiano: High Renaissance Rivalry." Source: Notes in the History of Art 3, no. 2 (1984): 60-68.
Hall, Marcia, and Marcia B. Hall, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Raphael. Cambridge University Press, 2005.