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Giovanni Santi

(c. 1440—1494)

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(b ?Colbordola, nr. Urbino, ?c.1440; d Urbino, 1 Aug. 1494).

Italian painter and writer, the father of Raphael, active mainly in Urbino, where he worked for the court. He was ‘a mediocre painter but an intelligent man’ (Vasari) and no doubt gave his illustrious son his introduction to humanist culture. Santi is now remembered less for his paintings than for a long rhymed chronicle about Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, which he wrote in 1484–7 and presented to the young Guidobaldo da Montefeltro in about 1492. This work is undistinguished as literature, but it contains a good deal of useful information about court life, Federico's military campaigns, and artistic matters. Santi's house in Urbino is now a museum—the Casa di Raffaello. It contains a small fresco of the Virgin and Child that some authorities consider to be Santi's portrayal of Raphael and his mother, and others claim as a very early work by Raphael himself.

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