Raphael Roundup: Books and Films

I have discovered over the course of the last fifteen years that not much has been written about Raphael, either fiction or even nonfiction. That’s why I was so excited to see the release of Raphael: Painter in Rome by Stephanie Storey on April 7, 2020, coinciding exactly with the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death. I love the cover, which features my favourite Raphael painting, the Galatea.

In the coming weeks, I will post a review of Raphael: Painter in Rome and an interview with the author, Stephanie Storey. Stay tuned!

I have to include The Sidewalk Artist by myself and Janice Kirk, which we published in 2006. Turns out we were one of the first (perhaps the fourth) to write a novel on the artist Raphael. Learn why Raphael is kind of like my first boyfriend.

I recall reading Waking Raphael by Leslie Forbes when we were doing the research for The Sidewalk Artist. Using Raphael’s portrait of La Muta (The Mute Woman) as inspiration for her novel, the author delves into the unspeakable.

Another novel about Raphael, written even earlier than the above, is The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears. I remember enjoying this one. According to Goodreads, the book has had multiple covers; this one is my favourite.

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King is a nonfiction work that reads like a novel. A riveting read that chronicles the rivalry between Michelangelo as he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and Raphael, who was simultaneously working on the papal apartments. Janice and I were absolutely thrilled when Mr. King agreed to provide a blurb for our novel, The Wolves of St. Peter’s.

Here’s what Ross King wrote about The Wolves of St. Peter’s:

“A zesty mix of high-class brothels and high-level corruption make The Wolves of St. Peter’s a top-notch historical thriller. Buonaguro and Kirk lead us through the murkier side of Renaissance Rome with the help of a cast of enjoyably unpleasant characters, including a grumpy Michelangelo and a serenely dissolute Raphael. Who needs The Borgias?”
Ross King,

Raphael: Lord of the Arts was a gorgeous documentary film that came out in cinemas in 2017 and was produced partly by the Vatican about Raphael and his artworks. This article sums it up very well.

I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone, originally published in 1961 and made into a major motion picture in 1965. Essentially this is the fictionalized version of Ross King’s book, of the rivalry between Michelangelo and Raphael. Time to get myself a copy and see if I can watch it on Amazon Prime!

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