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Many great artists have not been called great until after they were dead. Raphael's story is very different. The people of his time recognized him as one of their greatest artists. They called him divino pittore, which means "divine painter". The sweetness and charm of his pictures of the mother of Jesus - his Madonnas - won immediate praise. Just as his Madonnas were loved by all kinds of people, the artist was loved by rich and poor, young and old. When he died, such crowds came to his funeral that it seemed all Rome was there.

Raphael (1483 - 1520) - his full name was Raphael Sanzio, was born in Urbino, Italy. His father was a painter and poet. The boy was left an orphan when he was 11. It was clear that Raphael had remarkable talent, and his father had given him lessons in painting. At 16 he entered the workshop of the artist Perugino at Perugia. In Almost no time he was painting as well as his master. He began to paint pictures of his own in addition to helping Perugino.

When he was 21, Raphael visited Florence for the first time. At this time two of the greatest artists the world has ever known were living there - Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. When Raphael saw their work he knew that he still had much to learn. And he set about learning it. Raphael, like almost all artists, borrowed from other artists any ideas that would help his own work. From Leonardo he learned about drawing and about making rich patterns. From Michelangelo he learned how important it is for an artist to know the human body thoroughly.

Raphael's visit to Florence was a short one, but he soon returned there to live. He remained there almost two years. During these two years he painted many of his most famous Madonnas.

The beauty of these paintings has made them popular all over the world. Today they may be seen in museums in Italy and Vienna, Madrid, London, Paris, Munich, Berlin, New York, and a few other cities. The most famous Madonna of all, the Sistine Madonna, was the last one Raphael painted. It belongs to the Dresden Picture Gallery. A Raphael Madonna is almost the most popular painting in any museum that has one.

From 1508 until his death Raphael worked in Rome. There he did more than paint pictures. He was doing at least half a dozen different kinds of work. He had become the architect of St. Peter's Church. He made plans for private palaces. He had charge of digging up and saving relics of ancient Rome. He designed mosaics and tapestries. And he kept on painting frescoes and portraits. He could not carry out all this work without help. He had about 50 younger artists working with him.

Raphael's work brought him a high social position. But he did not live long to enjoy it. He was always rather frail, and he was tired from overwork. Late in March of 1520, he caught a fever. He died on April 6, 1520, his 37th birthday.


1) How did the people of Raphael's time call him?

2) Where was Raphael born?

3) What did Raphael borrow from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo?

4) What is the most famous Raphael's Madonna?

5) What kind of work did Raphael do in Rome?


In 1609 Galileo (1564 - 1642), the famous Italian scientist, heard hat a Dutch spectacles-maker had invented a new kind of instrument. With it he could make things faraway appear to be close.

The Dutch spectacles-maker, most accounts say, was Hans Lipper-shey. One story tells that a boy who was learning the trade from Lippershey was playing with some of the lenses Lippershey used for spectacles. He happened to hold one in front of another and look through them. To his surprise the lenses seemed to bring what he was looking at much closer. He showed Lippershey his discovery. Lippershey put the two lenses in a tube. He put the new toy in his shop window. It was, of course, a simple telescope. The word telescope means "seeing far away".

As soon as he heard of a telescope, Galileo decided to make one for himself. With the first telescope he made Galileo found that he could sight vessels too far out at sea to be seen with the naked eye. Galileo soon made better telescopes than the first one. When he finished his fourth telescope, it occurred to him to look up at the sky with it. He turned it toward the moon, and had a great surprise. The moon was not a smooth, shining ball as people had said. Instead, it had mountains and valleys and plains on it.

Ever since that time, telescopes have been used to explore the sky. There are still small telescopes for seeing distant things on the -earth. But the famous telescopes have all been built to study the sky. Galileo's telescopes were made with two small lenses. Some of the best telescopes in the world are still made with lenses. Telescopes made with lenses are called refracting telescopes.

Not long after Galileo's time the famous English scientist Newton invented another kind of telescope. In it he used mirrors instead of lenses. Telescopes made with mirrors are called reflecting telescopes.

It is possible for an astronomer to study the sky by looking through the world's biggest telescopes. But scientists have found a better way of making discoveries with them. A photographic plate is a better "eye" than a real eye. Astronomers therefore use the telescopes as giant cameras. They take pictures of the part of the sky they wish to study and then study the pictures.


1) What does the word "telescope" mean?

2) Who was Hans Lippershey?

3) Why was Galileo greatly surprised when he turned his telescope toward the moon?

4) Galileo's telescopes were made with two small lenses, weren't they?

5) How are telescopes made with mirrors called?

6) How can astronomers use the telescopes?

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