Lady Gaga (Part one)

American singer-songwriter, Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta) was born 28 March 1986 at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York City to a Catholic family. Her parents both have Italian ancestry; she also has more distant French-Canadian roots. She was Brought up in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, From age 11, she attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private all-girls Roman Catholic school.

Gaga began playing the piano at age four when her mother insisted she become “a cultured young woman”. She took piano lessons and practiced through her childhood. The lessons taught her to create music by ear, which she preferred over reading sheet music. Her parents encouraged her to pursue music, and enrolled her in Creative Arts Camp. As a teenager, she played at open mic nights. Gaga played the lead roles of Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum She also studied method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute for ten year Gaga unsuccessfully auditioned for New York shows, though she did appear in a small role as a high school student in a 2001 episode of The Sopranos titled “The Telltale Moozadell”.

In 2003, at age 17, Gaga gained early admission to Collaborative Arts Project 21, a music school at New York University (NYU)’s Tisch School of the Arts, and lived in an NYU dorm. She studied music there, and improved her songwriting skills by writing essays on art, religion, social issues and politics, including a thesis on pop artists Spencer Tunick and Damien Hirst. She left school, in 2005, to focus on her music career and also played an unsuspecting diner customer for MTV’s Boiling Points, a prank reality television show.

In 2005, Gaga recorded two songs with hip-hop singer Grandmaster Melle Mel for an audio book accompanying Cricket Casey’s children’s novel The Portal in the Park. She also formed a band called the SGBand with some friends from NYU. After seeing Gaga at the 2006 Songwriters Hall of Fame New Songwriters Showcase at The Cutting Room in June, talent scout Wendy Starland recommended her to music producer Rob Fusari who collaborated with Gaga, helping to develop her songs and compose new material. Fusari was also the first person to call her “Lady Gaga”, which was derived from Queen’s song “Radio Ga Ga”. Fusari and Gaga established a company called Team Lovechild, LLC to promote her career.

Gaga was signed to Def Jam in September 2006 however She was dropped from the label three months later and began performing at neo-burlesque shows. she then met performance artist Lady Starlight, who helped mold her onstage persona and they began performing a tribute to 1970s variety acts as “Lady Gaga and the Starlight Revue” at downtown club venues like the Mercury Lounge, The Bitter End, and the Rockwood Music Hall and were and billed as “The Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rockshow”, They also performed at the 2007 Lollapalooza music festival. Gaga started with avant-garde electronic dance music, but began to incorporate pop melodies and the glam rock style of David Bowie and Queen into her songs. In November 2007, Vincent Herbert signed Gaga to his label Streamline Records. Gaga made a deal with Sony/ATV and was hired to write songs for Britney Spears, New Kids on the Block, Fergie, and The Pussycat Dolls. Fortuitously the Musician Akon convinced Jimmy Iovine, chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M, to have Gaga also sign with his own label KonLive. Gaga met with songwriter and producer RedOne and collaborated with him in the recording studio for a week on her debut album. However some radio stations found her music too “racy”, “dance-oriented”, and “underground” for the mainstream market.

Gaga’s debut album The Fame, was released in 2008 containing the singles, “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” and it reached number one in Austria, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the UK reaching the top five in Australia and the US. Three other singles, “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)”, “LoveGame” and “Paparazzi”, were also released from the album. Remixed versions of the singles from The Fame, except “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)”, were included on Hitmixes in 2009. At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, The Fame and “Poker Face” won Best Dance/Electronica Album and Best Dance Recording, respectively. In 2010 Gaga’s The Monster Ball Tour grossed $227 million, becoming the highest-grossing concert tour for a debut headlining artist. She also toured with The Pussycat Dolls’ on the 2009 Doll Domination Tour in Europe and the Pacific, before headlining The Fame Ball Tour.

The Fame was reissued as The Fame Monster for which she wrote eight new songs including, “Bad Romance”, and “Telephone”, with Beyoncé, which became Gaga’s fourth UK number one. The third single “Alejandro”, attracted controversy when the music video was deemed blasphemous by the Catholic League The video for “Bad Romance” became the most watched on YouTube in 2010. Gaga also won eight awards from 13 nominations, including Video of the Year for “Bad Romance” At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. The Fame Monster won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album, and “Bad Romance” won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. During 2009, Gaga spent a record 150 weeks on the UK Singles Chart and became the most downloaded female act in a year in the US, with 11.1 million downloads sold, earning an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Fame and The Fame Monster together have since sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. Gaga then embarked on her second worldwide concert tour, The Monster Ball Tour, and released The Remix, which became among the best-selling remix albums of all time And The Monster Ball Tour became the highest-grossing concert tour for a debut headlining artist. Lady Gaga also performed Concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City which were filmed for an HBO television special, Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden and performed songs from her albums at the 2009 Royal Variety Performance, the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, and the 2010 BRIT Awards.

Gaga also began collaborating with consumer electronics company Monster Cable Products to create in-ear, jewel-encrusted headphones called Heartbeats by Lady Gaga. She also partnered with Polaroid in January 2010 as their creative director and announced a suite of photo-capture products called Grey Label. Sadly Gaga was tested borderline positive for lupus. In 2011, Gaga released “Born This Way”, Which sold one million copies within five days, earning the Guinness World Record for the fastest selling single on iTunes and became the 1,000th number-one single in the history of the charts. It was followed by the singles “Judas”, “The Edge of Glory”, “You and I” and “Marry the Night”. The album Born this Way sold eight million copies worldwide and received three Grammy nominations, including Gaga’s third consecutive nomination for Album of the Year. She also embarked on the Born This Way Ball tour in April 2012, however this ended prematurely when Gaga canceled the remaining dates due to a labral tear of her right hip that required surgery.

In 2011, Gaga collaborated with Tony Bennett on a jazz version of “The Lady Is a Tramp”, Elton John on “Hello Hello” for Gnomeo & Juliet and The Lonely Island and Justin Timberlake on “3-Way (The Golden Rule). She also performed a concert at the Sydney Town Hall in Australia that year to promote Born This Way and to celebrate former US President Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday, she was also featured in a Thanksgiving television special titled A Very Gaga Thanksgiving, which spawned the release of her fourth EP, A Very Gaga Holiday. In 2012 Gaga guest-starred as an animated version of herself in an episode of The Simpsons called “Lisa Goes Gaga”. She also appeared in the documentary films The Zen of Bennett and Katy Perry: Part of Me,and released her first fragrance, Lady Gaga Fame, followed by a second one, Eau de Gaga, in 2014.

In 2013, Gaga released the song “Applause” from her third album Artpop followed by the track “Aura” to accompany Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, where she plays an assassin named La Chameleon. The second Artpop single, “Do What U Want”, featured singer R. Kelly, Gaga also hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in November 2013, performing “Do What U Want” (with Kelly) and an album cut, “Gypsy”. However Gaga removed Do What U Want from all streaming platforms in 2019 in the light of allegations made against Kelly sexually abusing several women. Artpop was released in 2013. The song”G.U.Y.” was released in 2014. Following her second Thanksgiving Day television special on ABC, Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular, she performed a special rendition of “Do What U Want” with Christina Aguilera on the fifth season of the American reality talent show The Voice.

PART TWO

In 2014, Gaga performed seven concerts at New York’s Roseland Ballroom before its closure. She also embarked on the ArtRave: The Artpop Ball tour, building on concepts from her ArtRave promotional event. Gaga also split from longtime manager Troy Carter over “creative differences”. She briefly appeared in Rodriguez’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and was confirmed as Versace’s spring-summer 2014 face with a campaign called “Lady Gaga For Versace”. Gaga also released a collaborative jazz album with Tony Bennett titled Cheek to Cheek containing the songs “Anything Goes” and “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” which became Gaga’s third consecutive number-one album on the Billboard 200, and won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album a concert special Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!, was also recorded before Gaga embarked on the Cheek to Cheek Tour. Gaga also performed at the 87th Academy Awards, singing a medley of songs from The Sound of Music in a tribute to Julie Andrews. Gaga and Diane Warren co-wrote the song “Til It Happens to You” for the documentary The Hunting Ground, which earned them the Satellite Award for Best Original Song and an Academy Award nomination. Gaga won Billboard Woman of the Year and Contemporary Icon Award at the 2015 Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards.

Gaga starred in the fifth season of the television anthology horror series American Horror Story: Hotel portraying a hotel owner named Elizabeth and also played a witch named Scathach in American Horror Story: Roanoke receiving the Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film award At the 73rd Golden Globe Awards, for her work on the season.

She appeared in Nick Knight’s 2015 fashion film for Tom Ford’s 2016 spring campaign and was guest editor for V fashion magazine’s 99th issue, which featured 16 different covers. She received Editor of the Year award at the Fashion Los Angeles Awards. In 2016, Gaga sang the US national anthem in February at Super Bowl 50, partnered with Intel and Nile Rodgers for a tribute performance to the late David Bowie at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards and sang “Til It Happens to You” at the 88th Academy Awards, where she was introduced by Joe Biden and was accompanied on-stage by 50 people who had suffered from sexual assault. She also received the Artist Award at the Jane Ortner Education Awards by The Grammy Museum, which recognizes artists who have demonstrated passion and dedication to education through the arts.

In 2016, she released the single, “Perfect Illusion” from her fifth album Joanne, which was named after Gaga’s late aunt, who inspires her music. Joanne became Gaga’s fourth number one album on the Billboard 200, making her the first woman to reach US Number 1 four times in the 2010s. The album’s second single was, “Million Reasons”. a piano version of the album’s title track was also released in 2018, winning a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance. Gaga performed during the Super Bowl LI halftime show on February 5, 2017 with a group of hundreds of lit drones forming various shapes in the sky above Houston’s NRG Stadium and earned her an Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Special Class Program category. Gaga headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and also released the single, “The Cure”. Gaga’s creation of Joanne and preparation for her halftime show performance were featured in the documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, which premiered on Netflix. In 2018, Gaga supported the March for Our Lives gun-control rally in Washington, D.C.and released a cover of Elton John’s “Your Song” for his tribute album Revamp. Unfortunately Gaga began suffering with fibromyalgia during the Joanne World Tour which causes chronic pain.

Gaga also appears as a struggling singer named Ally in Bradley Cooper’s critically acclaimed musical romantic drama A Star Is Born, a remake of the 1937 film of the same name. The film follows Ally’s relationship with singer Jackson Maine (played by Cooper). It premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival in August 2018, and was released worldwide in October. Gaga subsequently received nominations for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild for Best Actress, Gaga received the Critics’ Choice and National Board of Review awards for the role. Gaga and Cooper co-wrote and produced most of the songs such as “Shallow” on the soundtrack for A Star Is Born,
Which contains 34 tracks, including 19 original songs. Shallow earned Gaga an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Original Song as well as the Grammys for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media. Gaga also received a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music. Gaga signed a two-year residency, named Lady Gaga Enigma, to perform at the MGM Park Theater in Las Vegas. Performing two different shows Enigma, which focuses on theatricality and includes the singer’s biggest hits, and Jazz and Piano, which involves tracks from the Great American Songbook and stripped-down versions of Gaga’s songs. She has also started working on her sixth studio album.

Barnum and Bailey Day

Barnum & Bailey Day commemorates the Anniversary of 28 March 1881 when P.T. Barnum merged his show with James A. Bailey’s circus. Barnum & Bailey Circus, (Ringling Bros. Circus) was an American traveling circus company billed as The Greatest Show on Earth. It and its predecessor shows ran from 1871 to 2017. Known as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, the circus started in 1919 when the Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, a circus created by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey, was merged with the Ringling Bros. World’s Greatest Shows. The Ringling brothers had purchased Barnum & Bailey Ltd. following Bailey’s death in 1906, but ran the circuses separately until they were merged in 1919.

After 1956 the circus no longer exhibited under their own portable “big top” tents, instead using permanent venues such as sports stadiums and arenas. In 1967, Irvin Feld and his brother Israel, along with Houston Judge Roy Hofheinz bought the circus from the Ringling family. In 1971, the Felds and Hofheinz sold the circus to Mattel, buying it back from the toy company in 1982. Since the death of Irvin Feld in 1984, the circus had been a part of Feld Entertainment, an international entertainment firm headed by Kenneth Feld, with its headquarters in Ellenton, Florida. With weakening attendance, many animal rights protests, and high operating costs, the circus performed their final show on May 21, 2017 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and closed after 146 years.

Weed Appreciation Day

Weed Appreciation Day takes place annually on 28 March. Weed Appreciation Day was launched 28 March 2000.

A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, “a plant in the wrong place”. Examples commonly are plants unwanted in human-controlled settings, such as farm fields, gardens, lawns, and parks. Taxonomically, the term “weed” has no botanical significance, because a plant that is a weed in one context is not a weed when growing in a situation where it is in fact wanted, and where one species of plant is a valuable crop plant, another species in the same genus might be a serious weed, such as a wild bramble growing among cultivated loganberries. In the same way, volunteer crops (plants) are regarded as weeds in a subsequent crop. Many plants that people widely regard as weeds also are intentionally grown in gardens and other cultivated settings, in which case they are sometimes called beneficial weeds. The term weed also is applied to any plant that grows or reproduces aggressively, or is invasive outside its native habitat. More broadly “weed” occasionally is applied pejoratively to species outside the plant kingdom, species that can survive in diverse environments and reproduce quickly; in this sense it has even been applied to humans. Weed control is important in agriculture. Methods include hand cultivation with hoes, powered cultivation with cultivators, smothering with mulch, lethal wilting with high heat, burning, or chemical attack with herbicides.

The purpose of Weed Appreciation Day is to point out the usefulness of plants, normally considered weeds, in our gardens, such as Daisies, thistles, buttercups, dandelions (entirely edible for wildlife and humans) and milkweed, which is a favorite of the threatened Monarch butterfly.

more events and National Holidays happening On 28 March

Black Forest Cake Day
National Triglycerides Day
Something on a Stick Day
Weed Appreciation Day

Dave Keuning (The Killers)

Dave Keuning the Guitarist with Las Vegas band The Killers, was born 28 March 1976. The killers were formed in 2001, by Brandon Flowers (lead vocals, keyboards), Dave Keuning (guitar, backing vocals). Mark Stoermer (bass, backing vocals) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums, percussion) completed the current line-up of the band in 2002. The name The Killers is derived from a logo on the bass drum of a fictitious band portrayed in the music video for the New Order song “Crystal”. studio albums which the band have released include Hot Fuss (2004), Sam’s Town (2006) and Day & Age (2008)and Battle Born and Direct Hits. They have also released one compilation album, Sawdust (2007) and one live album and DVD titled Live from the Royal Albert Hall (2009).

On September 16, 2013 the Killers released “Shot at the Night” which was produced by Anthony Gonzalez and also released their first greatest hits compilation, Direct Hits celebrating a decade together as a band and fulfilling a contractual requirement with their record label. The album featured songs from all four studio albums, the new single “Shot At The Night” and another new song “Just Another Girl”.The release of Direct Hits was followed by a short promotional tour, the band also played a number of festivals in 2014. The Killers have stated that they will be taking an extended break before beginning work on their fifth studio album. On December 1, 2014, the band released “Joel the Lump of Coal”. The single features late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. The song marks the ninth consecutive year in which the band has released a Christmas song. All proceeds went to AIDS charities as part of the Product Red campaign.

To date, the band has sold over 6 million albums in the United States, over 5 million albums in the United Kingdom, and over 15 million worldwide.Some of their best known songs are Mr Brightside,smile like you mean it, When You were Young, Bones, Read my Mind and For Reasons Unknown. The Killers have also performed at many festivals including T in the Park, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury Festival, V Festival and the 2013 Isle of Wight Festival.

Raphael

Italian high Renaissance painter and architect Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino was born on either March 28 or April 6, 1483 (depending on the Julian or Gregorian calender) in Urbino in the Marche region. His father Giovanni Santi was court painter to the Duke. The reputation of the court had been established by Federico III da Montefeltro, a highly successful condottiere who had been created Duke of Urbino by the Pope but died the year before Raphael was born. Federico was succeeded by his son Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, who married Elisabetta Gonzaga, daughter of the ruler of Mantua, Under them, the court continued as a centre for literary culture .Court life in Urbino was depicted by Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, Castiglione moved to Urbino in 1504, when Raphael was no longer based there but frequently visited, and they became good friends. Raphael mixed inthe highest circles throughout his life. His mother Màgia died in 1491 when Raphael was eight, followed on August 1, 1494 by his father. Raphael was thus orphaned at eleven; his formal guardian became his only paternal uncle Bartolomeo, a priest. Raphael had already shown talent, according to Vasari, His father’s workshop continued and, probably together with his stepmother. In Urbino, he also came into contact with the works of Paolo Uccello, previously the court painter and Luca Signorelli.VAccording to Vasari, his father placed him in the workshop of the Umbrian master Pietro Perugino as an apprentice he may have Also received training from Timoteo Viti, who acted as court painter in Urbino from 1495. Raphael is described as a “master”, (fully trained) in December 1500.

His first documented work was the Baronci altarpiece for the church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino in Città di Castello, halfway between Perugia and Urbino. Evangelista da Pian di Meleto, was also named in the commission. It was commissioned in 1500 and finished in 1501; sadly only some cut sections and a preparatory drawing remain. He also painted works for other churches including the Mond Crucifixion, the Brera Wedding of the Virgin and the Oddi Altarpiece ar Perugia. He also painted many small and exquisite cabinet paintings like the Three Graces and St. Michael, he also began to paint Madonnas and portraits. In 1502 he was invited to Siena by Pinturicchio, who was a friend of Raphael and considered him to be a draughtsman of the highest quality, to help with the cartoons, and designs, for a fresco series in the Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral. Although Raphael mainly worked in Northern Italy, he also spent a good deal of time in Florence. Raphael was influenced by Florentine art, whilst keeping his own developing style. Frescos in Perugia of about 1505 show a new monumental quality in the figures which may represent the influence of Fra Bartolomeo, who Vasari says was a friend of Raphael. Another major influence was Leonardo da Vinci,

Raphael’s figures became more dynamic and complex and he made drawn studies of fighting nude men, And portraits of young women that using the three-quarter length pyramidal composition of the just-completed Mona Lisa. Another of Leonardo’s compositional inventions, is the pyramidal Holy Family, . There is a drawing by Raphael in the Royal Collection of Leonardo’s lost Leda and the Swan, from which he adapted the contrapposto pose of his own Saint Catherine of Alexandria. He also perfected his own version of Leonardo’s sfumato modelling, to give subtlety to his painting of flesh, However these are much less enigmatic than Leonardo’s But retain the soft clear light of Perugino. Raphael’s Deposition of Christ draws on classical sarcophagi to spread the figures across the front of the picture space in a complex and not wholly successful arrangement. There is an influence of the Madonna in Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo in the kneeling figure on the right, but the rest of the composition is far removed from his style, or that of Leonardo. in 1508, Raphael had moved to Rome, where he lived for the rest of his life. He was invited by the new Pope Julius II, at the suggestion of his architect Donato Bramante, then engaged on St. Peter’s Basilica, who came from just outside Urbino and was distantly related to Raphael. Unlike Michelangelo, Raphael was immediately commissioned by Julius to fresco what was intended to become the Pope’s private library at the Vatican Palace. Several other artists and their teams of assistants were already at work on different rooms, many painting over recently completed paintings commissioned by Julius’s loathed predecessor, Alexander VI, whose contributions, and arms, Julius was determined to efface from the palace. Michelangelo, meanwhile, had been commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

This first of the famous “Stanze” or “Raphael Rooms” to be painted, now known as the Stanza della Segnatura after its use in Vasari’s time, influenced Roman art, and remains generally regarded as his greatest masterpiece, containing The School of Athens, The Parnassus and the Disputa. Raphael was given two more rooms to paint, displacing other artists including Perugino and Signorelli. He completed a sequence of three rooms, each with paintings on each wall and often the ceilings too. The death of Julius in 1513 did not interrupt the work at all, as he was succeeded by Raphael’s last Pope, the Medici Pope Leo X, with whom Raphael formed an even closer relationship, and who continued to commission him. Raphael’s friend Cardinal Bibbiena was also one of Leo’s old tutors, and a close friend and advisor. Raphael was clearly influenced by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling in the course of painting the room. Vasari said Bramante let him in secretly. The first section was completed in 1511 and the reaction of other artists to the daunting force of Michelangelo was the dominating question in Italian art for the following few decades. Raphael, had already shown his gift for absorbing influences into his own personal style and One of the first and clearest instances was the portrait in The School of Athens of Michelangelo himself, as Heraclitus, which were influenced by the Sybils and ignudi of the Sistine ceiling. Other figures in that and later paintings in the room show the same influences, but still demonstrate Raphael’s own style this led Michelangelo to accuse Raphael of plagiarism. However These very large and complex compositions have since become regarded as among the supreme works of the grand manner of the High Renaissance, and the “classic art” of the post-antique West which give a highly idealised depiction of the forms represented.

After Bramante’s death in 1514, Raphael was named architect of the new St Peter’s. Most of his work there was altered or demolished after his death and the acceptance of Michelangelo’s design, but a few drawings have survived. He also designed several other buildings, and for a short time was the most important architect in Rome, working for a small circle around the Papacy. Julius had made changes to the street plan of Rome, creating several new thoroughfares, and he wanted them filled with splendid palaces. An important building, the Palazzo Branconio dell’Aquila for Leo’s Papal Chamberlain Giovanni Battista Branconio, was completely destroyed to make way for Bernini’s piazza for St. Peter’s, however drawings of the richly decorated façade and courtyard remain. The main designs for the Villa Farnesina were not by Raphael, but he did design, and decorated with mosaics, the Chigi Chapel for the same patron, Agostino Chigi, the Papal Treasurer. Another building, for Pope Leo’s doctor, the Palazzo di Jacobo da Brescia, was moved in the 1930s but survives; this was designed to complement a palace on the same street by Bramante, where Raphael himself lived for a time. The Villa Madama, a lavish hillside retreat for Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici, later Pope Clement VII, was never finished, and his full plans have to be reconstructed speculatively. He produced a design from which the final construction plans were completed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Even incomplete, it was the most sophisticated villa design yet seen in Italy, and greatly influenced the later development of the genre; it appears to be the only modern building in Rome of which Palladio made a measured drawing.

In 1515 he was made “Prefect” over all antiquities unearthed entrusted within the city, or a mile outside. Raphael wrote a letter to Pope Leo suggesting ways of halting the destruction of ancient monuments, and proposed a visual survey of the city to record all antiquities in an organised fashion. The Pope’s concerns were not exactly the same; he intended to continue to re-use ancient masonry in the building of St Peter’s, but wanted to ensure that all ancient inscriptions were recorded, and sculpture preserved, before allowing the stones to be reused. The Vatican projects took most of his time, although he painted several portraits, including those of his two main patrons, the popes Julius II and his successor Leo X, the former considered one of his finest. Other portraits were of his own friends, like Castiglione, or the immediate Papal circle. Other rulers pressed for work, and King Francis I of France was sent two paintings as diplomatic gifts from the Pope. For Agostino Chigi, the hugely rich banker and Papal Treasurer, he painted the Triumph of Galatea and designed further decorative frescoes for his Villa Farnesina, a chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Pace and mosaics in the funerary chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo. He also designed some of the decoration for the Villa Madama, the work in both villas being executed by his workshop.

One of his most important papal commissions was the Raphael Cartoons (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum), a series of 10 cartoons, of which seven survive, for tapestries with scenes of the lives of Saint Paul and Saint Peter, for the Sistine Chapel. The cartoons were sent to Brussels to be woven in the workshop of Pier van Aelst. He also designed and painted the Loggie at the Vatican, a long thin gallery then open to a courtyard on one side, decorated with Roman-style grottesche. He produced a number of significant altarpieces, including The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia and the Sistine Madonna. His last work, on which he was working up to his death, was a large Transfiguration, which together with Il Spasimo shows the direction his art was taking in his final years—more proto-Baroque than Mannerist.

Raphael also collaborated with Marcantonio Raimondi to produce engravings, Raimondi created many of the most famous Italian prints of the century, and was important in the rise of the reproductive print. His interest was unusual in such a major artist; from his contemporaries it was only shared by Titian, who had alao worked with Raimondi. A total of about fifty prints were made; some were copies of Raphael’s paintings, but other designs were apparently created by Raphael purely to be turned into prints. Raphael made preparatory drawings, many of which survive, for Raimondi to translate into engraving. The most famous original prints to result from the collaboration were Lucretia, the Judgement of Paris and The Massacre of the Innocents (of which two virtually identical versions were engraved), The Parnassus (with considerable differences) and Galatea. Outside Italy, reproductive prints by Raimondi and others were the main way that Raphael’s art was experienced until the twentieth century. Baviero Carocci, an assistant who Raphael evidently trusted ended up in control of most of the copper plates after Raphael’s death, and had a successful career in the new occupation of a publisher of prints.

Raphael was also an excellent draftsmen and used drawings extensively to plan his compositions. Over forty sketches survive for the Disputa in the Stanze. He used different drawings to refine his poses and compositions. For final compositions scaled-up full-size cartoons were made, He also made unusually extensive use, on both paper and plaster, of a “blind stylus”, scratching lines which leave only an indentation, but no mark. These can be seen on the wall in The School of Athens, The “Raphael Cartoons”, as tapestry designs, were fully coloured in a glue distemper medium, as they were sent to Brussels to be followed by the weavers. Most Raphael drawings are rather precise—even initial sketches with naked outline figures are carefully drawn, and later working drawings often have a high degree of finish, with shading and sometimes highlights in white. They lack the freedom and energy of some of Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s sketches, but are nearly always aesthetically very satisfying. He was one of the last artists to use metalpoint extensively, although he also made superb use of the freer medium of red or black chalk In his final years he was one of the first artists to use female models for preparatory drawings—male pupils (“garzoni”) were normally used for studies of both sexes.

From 1517 until his death, Raphael lived in the Palazzo Caprini in the Borgo, in a palace designed by Bramante. He never married, but in 1514 became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, Cardinal Medici Bibbiena’s niece. He is said to have had many affairs, but his deepest love was “La Fornarina”, Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker (fornaro) named Francesco Luti from Siena who lived at Via del Governo Vecchio. He was made a “Groom of the Chamber” of the Pope, and a knight of the Papal Order of the Golden Spur. According to Vasari, Raphael’s premature death on Good Friday (April 6, 1520), which was possibly his 37th birthday, was caused by a night of excessive sex with Luti, after which he fell into a fever. Vasari also says that Raphael had also been born on a Good Friday, which in 1483 fell on March 28. During his acute illness, which lasted fifteen days, Raphael confessed his sins, receive the last rites, and to put his affairs in order, he left sufficient funds for his mistress’s care, entrusted to his loyal servant Baviera, and left most of his studio contents to Giulio Romano and Penni. Raphael was buried in the Pantheon. His funeral was extremely grand, attended by large crowds. The inscription in his marble sarcophagus, an elegiac distich was written by Pietro Bembo.