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Raphael was born in Urbino in the Marche area of central Italy. He probably learned to paint in his father's art studio. His mother died when he was eight, and he became an orphan when he was eleven and his father died. It was at this time he entered the studio of the artist Perugino. It soon became apparent that he was going to become a great artist. He studied the paintings of Michelangelo and Leonardo di Vinci and was greatly influenced by those artists. When he was twenty-one years old he moved to Florence and began to paint beautiful portraits. So many people wanted portraits painted by him! He could not paint fast enough to keep up with the demand, so he hired other artists to do parts of the paintings. He created ten pictures known as "cartoons" from which tapestries were made. Pope Leo X (the Tenth) was the next Pope and he designated Raphael to be the architect of St. Peter's cathedral. The featured painting on this page is St. George and the Dragon. Raphael painted many pictures of Mary and Jesus such as The Madonna Della Sedia which is featured on this page. He was born on a Good Friday, and he died on a Good Friday on his thirty-seventh birthday.