Raphael, Landscape Architect
Associate Professor, Vassar College
If the longstanding image of Raphael as “prince of painters” has been overtaken in recent decades by an appreciation of the artist’s richly intermedial body of work, his role as a designer of landscape remains a relatively little known aspect of his oeuvre. It is striking that the only surviving drawing by Raphael’s own hand for his late architectural masterwork, Villa Madama, is for terraced garden rooms (Uffizi 1356A) – a drawing that constitutes one of the earliest surviving landscape designs in the Western tradition. Raphael’s epistolary description of the villa further reveals his attention to select elements of the landscape. Drawing on his sources and his own writings and drawing, this paper considers Raphael’s ideas for what we may call urban landscape at Villa Madama and beyond, analyzing his work at the nexus of landscape and architectural design with urban and suburban planning.