Raphael was born in Urbino, Marche, in 1483, a period of great splendour for the city because of the lively cultural activity promoted by the court of Federico da Montefeltro. He spent his childhood in the workshop of his father, the painter Giovanni Santi. The first biographies tell that Giovanni decided to send his sixteen-year-old son to learn the art of painting in Perugino’s workshop, then active between Florence and Perugia.
It is probably thanks to Perugino that Raphael reached Città di Castello and Perugia, in Umbria. In these places, between 1499 and 1505, he made some of his masterpieces.
Many of those have left Umbria and today we find them in museums all around the world, such as the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan and the Galleria Borghese in Rome.
In Umbria you can still admire the Standard of the Holy Trinity (Gonfalone della Santissima Trinità) in the Pinacoteca Comunale di Città di Castello (1502) and the fresco of the Holy Trinity with Saints (Trinità e santi) in the San Severo chapel in Perugia (1505).
Moreover, Raphael’s stay in Umbria inspired many artists that got in contact directly with his work and were strongly affected by it. Raphael started a collaboration with some of them, to which he provided his patterns. After leaving Perugia to move to Florence and then Rome he stayed in contact with them.
Therefore, Umbria is the birthplace of Raphael’s first work but also the place where would work his disciples and collaborators of his Roman period. These artists are the protagonists of that period of Raphael’s second influence, which characterized Umbria until the second half of the 16th century.
For this reason, 500 years after his death, Umbria wants to dedicate a passionate tribute to Raphael, an itinerary through the evidences he left in the region, his personal works and those of the artist that have been influenced by him and that worked here throughout the 16th century.