Athenaeum Music & Arts Library: Lecture series to mark 500 years since Renaissance artist Raphael’s death

Self portrait: Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino — better known as "Raphael" — was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. He was born in Urbino, Italy in 1483 and died April 6, 1520 in Rome, Italy.
(Wikicommons Image)

Editor’s Note: Dates subject to change due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. Check with the Athenaeum for updates.

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library will present “Raphael,” a five-week lecture series by art historian Victoria Martino, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. Lectures begin 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, March 31, April 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2020; at the Athenaeum, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla.

Martino, is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and the University of California. She will provide an in-depth look at the life, work and legacy of the great Renaissance master whose far-reaching influence on art and aesthetics still makes itself felt.

Of her subject Martino explained: “The consummate example of a ‘Renaissance man,’ Raphael excelled in all artistic disciplines: exquisitely executed drawings, paintings, frescoes, mosaics, tapestry cartoons, preparatory drawings for engravings, and architectural designs. Beloved, admired, and emulated by all who knew him, he exemplified the essential virtues of the courtier, rising higher in the social hierarchy than any other artist of his time.

Each lecture is $14 for Athenaeum members, $19 for nonmembers. Series tickets: $60 members/$85 nonmembers. RSVP: (858) 454-5872 or

March 31, 2020: The Early Year (1483-1504) — Son of Giovanni Santi, court painter to the Duke of Urbino, Raphael was trained from an early age as a painter and courtier. Orphaned at age 11, the precocious young artist took over the management of his father’s workshop.

April 7: Florence (1504-508) — The young “master” broadened his artistic horizons by moving to Florence, cultural center of the Italian Renaissance. There he studied the works of Leonardo and Michelangelo, avidly assimilating aspects of their styles without losing his own developing style. At the suggestion of the papal architect Donato Bramante, who was distantly related to Raphael, the new Pope Julius II invited the young artist to Rome, where he spent the rest of his life.

April 14: Rome (1508-1520) — In Rome, Raphael was immediately commissioned by Pope Julius II to decorate his private library in the Vatican Palace with frescoes. These works met with such acclaim that Raphael was asked to paint frescoes in three succeeding rooms of the Pope’s private quarters. Further papal commissions included tapestry designs (cartoons) for the Sistine Chapel, and decorative frescoes for the loggie of the Vatican Palace.

April 21: Workshop and Collaborations — Raphael received more commissions in Rome than he could possibly execute. Consequently, he built up a large studio of assistants, which grew to include 50 artists, some of whom later became famous in their own right.

April 28: Critical Reception Through the Centuries — At the time of his premature death at age 37, Raphael was the most beloved and renowned artist of his time. Thousands attended his grand funeral, and he was buried in great pomp in the Pantheon.

The painting ‚Madonna of the Pinks' of Renaissance artist Raphael from London's National Gallery is on display at an exhibition at the Gemaeldegalerie in Berlin, Wednesday, Germany in 2019. Berlin is opening the first of several Raphael exhibitions as the art world celebrates the 500th anniversary of his death in 2020. The show is dedicated to five famous Madonna paintings by the renowned Renaissance master that belong to Berlin's Gemaeldegalerie collections and another masterpiece of the Virgin Mary that is on loan from the National Gallery in London.
(AP Photo / Markus Schreiber)
A Raphael drawing entitled "Head of a Young Apostle," which dates from the Renaissance period, has sold at auction for $47.8 million.
(Carl Court / AFP/Getty Images)