Edited by Liliana Atz
The son of Giovanni Santi, a painter in the service of the Montefeltro family, Raphael was born in Urbino in 1483.
Handsome, sociable, affable, cultured and open to the stimuli of other masters, he personified the image of the ‘court painter’.
This way of being opened many doors for him both in his private life and in his professional career, making him well-liked by rich lords, high prelates and the simple folk.
In the light of the study of the Enneagram, Raphael belonged to type Seven, the Optimist, the one who can induce cheerfulness and joie de vivre.
This enneagrammatic typology is characterised by the passion of Gluttony and the fixation of Fraudulence.
A contemporary of Michelangelo Buonarroti, it is said that the latter envied him not only for his prowess, but also for the way he related to others ‘with mellifluous flattering words’.
An artist of persuasion, this guy manages to circumvent obstacles without too much effort, skilfully using the art of oratory, seductiveness and his innate likability.
“Raffaello fu il primo e unico figlio di Giovanni Santi e di Magia di Battista di Nicola Ciarla. His mother died when Raphael was eight years old and his father when he was eleven’.
The Seven tends to avoid suffering, hiding behind a mask of joviality.
It handles pain and difficulties by taking refuge in the memory of pleasant moments and removing unpleasant ones. That is why, when faced with things that are too complicated, painful and limiting, he tends to run away, in the unconscious fear that stopping will lead him to get in touch with his inner self.
“A highly sought-after painter, his atelier was in some ways the opposite of that of Michelangelo, his contemporary, who preferred to work with the minimum indispensable aids (preparation of colours, plasters for the frescoes and more) while maintaining absolute leadership over the outcome of the final work”.
Raphael, on the other hand, increasingly delegated large parts of the work to his assistants as the years went by’.
The unredeemed Seven does not know how to stop on things, so he engages on several fronts at once, but without deepening anything, jumping from one experience to another.
Besides loving the idealised and divine beauty, however, Raphael also loved the earthly and sensual beauty of women.
According to Giorgio Vasari, Raphael had a very disordered and out-of-character sex life; it is said that he divided his youthful years between his passion for women and his passion for Art.
In “Le Vite” Vasari relates that: “the Cardinal of Bibbiena, a friend of his, had been pestering him for many years to give him a wife and he did not refuse her but said he still wanted to wait four years. Time passed and he courteously accepted his niece as his wife after four years with the cardinal. And because he was always ill-at-ease with this entanglement, he put much time in between so that the marriage was not yet consummated for Raphael, and this he did not do without honourable purpose, because having served the Court for so many years and being a creditor of Leo X, it had been a hint to him that when he had finished the room (Vatican rooms), as a reward for his labours and virtues, the Pope would give him a red (cardinal’s) hat.
This would have allowed him an important career in the church world. But he in an important place went back to his loves. He did not care so much about his engagement to the niece of the Cardinal of Bibbiena or Leo X’s promise to make him a cardinal’.
In the irredeemable pole, he is a rebellious, undisciplined type, who does not keep his commitments and interprets the rules in a personalised way, continuing to do what he wants. He uses the art of storytelling to get himself out of trouble, but if that is not enough, he openly rebels against the pressure.
This typology is in fact always in spasmodic search of novelty, diversity, the unknown, the exciting experience that can fill its inner voids: food, sex, situations…
Vasari recounts that: ‘And so it came to pass that once he was more disorderly than usual because at home he returned with a very great fever – probably a venereal disease – which took him away within a short time.
It was holy Friday, 6 April 1520.