All in the Family: Raphael’s Workshop and the Business of Art
Visiting Professor, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University / Independent Curator
Filial and paternal love are tropes that run through Vasari’s Vite of Raphael and his principal garzoni Giulio Romano, Gianfrancesco Penni, Perino del Vaga, and Lorenzetto: the master loved his pupils like a father and they loved him as though they were his own sons. This familial metaphor was not just a literary invention; it was a historical reality. The members of Raphael’s workshop were joined by a tight web of personal, professional, and matrimonial alliances, and by financial concerns, that rendered the organization at once a virtual and a literal familia as that designation connoted in the Renaissance. This paper will excavate evidence of the extensive familial armature of Raphael’s workshop from contemporary source material and enumerate instances in which the kinships and partnerships forged within its ranks provided operational channels for its members to conduct business, both private and public, in Rome.