Raphael (1483-1520), the Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, was a genius in and ahead of his time. Together with Michelangelo and da Vinci, he formed the classical trinity of this era and elaborated a rich style of harmony and geometry. As one of the great masters of the Renaissance and artist to European royalty and the Papal court in Rome, his works comprise various themes of theology and philosophy, including but not limited to famous illustrations of the Madonna. His surroundings and experience gave rise to his propensity to combine the ideals of humanism with those of religion, and firmly established in him a conviction that art is a necessary medium to reveal the beauty of nature.
Eugène Müntz (1845-1902) was a member of the Institut de France and curator of the collections of l’École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and has been one of the most influential specialists on the Italian Renaissance, focusing his attention on Florentine painters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. He wrote profusely on the great masters of the Renaissance and pioneered the modern study of Italian art history.