Galatea and Ezekiel.
Galatea was painted for the merchant and banker Agosto Chigi who was possibly the most wealthy man in Rome at the time that the painting was commissioned. The work was placed in Chigi's villa on the banks of the Tiber (now named the Villa Farnesina) and was intended to highlight Chigi's position as a major patron of the arts.
The prophet Ezekiel and his vision is described in the book of
Ezekiel. A vision of God the Father appeared to the prophet carried aloft by the
symbols of the evangelists, an eagle is accompanied by a lion, an ox and an
angel. In Raphael’s magnificent painting the vision of god fills the the main
part of the composition riding on a cloud and bathed in a golden celestial
light. The arms of God are raised in blessing completing the drama of the
composition. Only in a sketch at the bottom of the painting does an earthly landscape
appear on which the tiny figure of the prophet stands in awe of the vision
In 1514 the artist was named architect of St Peter's and for a while was the most important architect in Rome. He designed several buildings including the Chigi Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. Unfortunately his work on St Peter's was demolished when Michelangelo's design became accepted.
Raphael died on April 6th 1520 at the age of 37 and, such was his fame, that the leading scholar of the age, Cardinal Bembo, wrote the epitaph for his tomb. This is Raphael's tomb, while he lived he made Mother Nature fear to be vanquished by him and, as he died, to die too.