Born in the spring of 1483 in the Italian city of Urbino, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino was to become one of the three great masters of High Renaissance art, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
Orphaned at 11 years of age, Raphael went on to train under the artist Pietro Perugino. He received his first commission aged just 17 and by 1504 his talents were in great demand.
Raphael spent some time in Florence where he was influenced by the works of his contemporary Leonardo da Vinci, although in Rome another contemporary, Michelangelo, is said to have taken a dislike to the younger artist.
In 1508 Raphael moved to Rome where he spent the remainder of his life. Whilst there he was commissioned by the pope to paint frescos in buildings within the Vatican; these were some of Raphael's greatest works.
He died aged only 37 from an unknown cause. His funeral was a grand affair and his sarcophagus bears the inscription, "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die"