The question: how did Raphael’s portraits differ from Da Vinci’s is often asked. Although the answers may be complex, they all follow the same principle: A master painter would use a wide variety of colours to create an impressionistic painting. For example, in the Portrait of Leo X, Raphael paints the head of Cardinal Inghirami with his eyes crossed. However, this is not the only trait that distinguishes Raphael from his fellow painter.
The first thing that separates Raphael’s paintings from Da Vinci’s is their composition. Raphael was a student at Leonardo and closely studied Da Vinci portraits. Raphael’s portraits are composed in a similar manner to the Mona Lisa, whose composition allows for close examination of the human figure and uniform illumination. The portrait’s low-lying background allows for an accurate assessment of the human figure. This contrasts with Leonardo’s striking landscapes.
Raphael used color differently. While Da Vinci’s works emphasized the heavenly stillness of his figures, Raphael interpreted the image of the Virgin in a more realistic manner. Raphael’s portrait depicting St. Sixtus has swirling drapery that allows the eye to travel through the figures. Raphael also used color to emphasize the ethereal stillness of the figures while hinting at the earthly contact.
Both artists were successful, but their portraits were quite different. Raphael’s paintings can be recognized more easily than da Vinci’s and he uses a more cynical, impulsive approach. He also adopted his own style and integrated it into his work. His paintings are more popular that Da Vinci’s, and he has a different style.
La Fornarina is a well-known painting of the High Renaissance. A medium oil on wood portrait, La Fornarina was a companion piece to La Donna Velata, proving the artist’s fondness for Margherita Luti. The woman is half naked and wears a loose outfit. This evocative painting makes it possible to compare her beauty to that of a Madonna.
Raphael’s most famous painting is The Lady with the Swan, but there are many similar works by the Italian artist. Although his work was less detailed that da Vinci’s it was still very significant in terms its output. The Lady with the Swan is a particularly significant piece in Raphael’s output. Moreover, this portrait was a woman – and Raphael chose to portray her as a real person.
The second portrait shows Raphael’s difference most clearly. The first portrait focuses on the Milan equestrian groups, while Da Vinci’s paintings are focused on the Battle of Anghiari. Raphael probably saw sketches of these scenes while he was in Florence. Therefore, it is possible that Raphael was familiar with Da Vinci’s work and could have used them as inspiration.