The Raphael Problem
A Conversation with Dr. Sheryl E. Reiss
About the Event
April 6, 2020 marked the 500th anniversary of the death of the Italian “High Renaissance” master Raphael at the young age of 37. In his all-too-brief career, Raphael worked for an array of patrons including popes Julius II and Leo X, and during his lifetime he was praised as “the Prince of Painters.” Despite his great fame, in this country his contemporaries Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are far better known and admired. Graham School Instructor and Newberry Library Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Sheryl E. Reiss discusses what she calls “the Raphael Problem,” making a case for why Raphael is one of the most consequential artists in the Western tradition.
Open Enrollment Instructor
Sheryl E. Reiss received her Ph.D. from Princeton University and is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry Library in Chicago; she has taught for the Graham School since 2019. Dr. Reiss is a specialist in Italian Renaissance art and architecture with particular interest in the history of patronage. She is also interested in women and gender; archaism in early modern art; exchange between Italy and Northern Europe; and funerary art. She has published widely on Italian art and art patronage of the early sixteenth century, focusing particularly on the patronage of members of the Medici family, and on Raphael and Michelangelo. Dr. Reiss has previously taught at Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Cornell University, the University of California, Riverside, the University of Southern California, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Renaissance Society of America, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, and the Newberry Library. Dr. Reiss has co-edited two books: Beyond Isabella: Secular Women Patrons of Art in Renaissance Italy (2001, with David G. Wilkins) and The Pontificate of Clement VII: History, Politics, Culture(2005, with Kenneth Gouwens). She is currently preparing a book titled The Making of a Medici Maecenas: Giulio de’ Medici (Pope Clement VII) as Patron of Art and is the co-editor of an in-progress collection of essays titled Reconsidering Raphael.