MidReal Story

Renaissance Rivalries: Raphael's Artistic Odyssey

Scenario: A comic storyboard based on the life of Raphael, one of the three Renaissance masters.
Create my version of this story
A comic storyboard based on the life of Raphael, one of the three Renaissance masters.
I am a young man of nearly seventeen years, full of energy and ambition.
I think of myself as full of life and, though I am not a big man, I am well-built from all the exercise I do.
My hair is curly, and my eyes are large, giving me a look of perpetual surprise.
I have been told by many that I am handsome.
I am also full of passion, and that makes me something of a trial to my father.
He is a dignified man who has worked his entire life as a carpenter.
We live in the shadow of one of the most beautiful cities in all of Italy, Urbino, and my father has made a fine living for us there.
He is determined that I should grow up to be just like him, and he is furious with me because I have no interest in doing so.
I have other plans in mind for myself.
I want to be an artist.
My father believes this to be a foolish idea.
He says that there is no money in art, that it is a frivolous pursuit.
He tells me that I need to learn a trade, something honorable and secure, and that I should become a carpenter like himself.
My father does not understand that I cannot change what is inside of me.
I love painting and the arts more than anything else in this world.
To give it up would be like cutting out my own heart.
I first discovered painting by accident, or perhaps by fate, when I was a young boy growing up in Urbino.
The city was ruled by the Duke Federico da Montefeltro at that time, and he was a generous patron of the arts.
As a result, there were many fine painters living and working in and around Urbino while I was growing up.
One of them was Pietro Perugino, a master from Perugia whose works were known far and wide for their beauty and power.
It was through them that I first came to discover painting and art.
My father has never been much of an artist himself.
He knows how to carve things out of wood, certainly, but he has no talent for painting or drawing.
I do not know where mine comes from; it seems to be something that has appeared out of thin air inside of me.
My father is a practical man and he wants me to be practical as well.
He is sure that I can make a good living as a carpenter and he believes it is the best thing for me to do with my life.
I am not so sure about that myself.
I do not know what the future holds for me, but I am certain that I will never be happy doing anything other than painting and the arts.
I do not know how to explain this to my father in a way that he will understand.
I wish I could; it would make things much easier for us both if I could.
But I do not know how to tell him or even where to start, so I simply try to avoid the subject whenever possible instead.
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The first time I ever thought about becoming a painter was when I was ten years old.
My father had invited his cousin, Simone, over to help him paint some frescoes in one of the local convents and I went along with them to help out as well.
Simone was a very talented artist who was also a good friend of our family, and my father had hired him on many occasions before to help him paint some of his larger commissions.
As always when we worked together, I was tasked with the most menial job of them all: mixing plaster and grinding up pigments so that they could be used by my father and Simone when they painted the frescoes themselves.
It was dirty and backbreaking work, but I did not mind it at all because it meant I got to spend time with my father and his cousin while they worked, which was always fun for me.
My father had a beautiful singing voice and Simone was a very good storyteller, and I enjoyed listening to both of them while they sang and told tales as we worked together side by side.
But the best part of all about working in the convent was that I got to watch Pietro Perugino paint.
He was another very talented artist who was a friend of my father’s as well as a distant relative of our family.
He had been hired by the nuns at the convent to paint a large fresco on one of the walls of the church to honor the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist.
The church was vast and filled with scaffolding so that Perugino could easily reach every corner of the wall that he had been hired to work on.
The air was thick with the smell of wet plaster and there were other people working inside the church too, but Perugino’s presence commanded respect above all.
I watched as he painted beneath a bright golden sky.
Perugino was tall and strong with a beard covering his strong chin.
He had deep-set eyes that were the color of the sea on a sunny day.
He was very handsome and very talented.
I watched as Perugino painted the Virgin Mary in her blue mantle and Saint John in his camel-skin tunic.
They stood beneath a canopy of gold cloth with two angels standing beside them.
Their faces were serious but kind, and they looked down upon me as I watched them from below.
I knew then that I wanted to be like Perugino when I grew up.
I wanted to be an artist too.
I did not know how I would do it or how I would ever achieve such an ambitious goal for myself, but I knew it was what I wanted to do more than anything else in this world.
It felt like a calling inside of me: something deep and powerful that I could not ignore even if I tried.
I knew then that art was more than just something I liked to do: it was who I was.
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But now I felt like I had been brought to a crossroads in my life.
I watched as my father and Simone prepared to leave our workshop and set off to Città di Castello to buy the supplies they needed for their next project.
They were going to be gone for about five days and they were leaving me in charge of the workshop while they were gone.
I would be responsible for finishing up all of the projects that my father and Simone had started, so that they would be ready to present to their customers when they got back.
This meant that I would have to spend most of my days haggling with merchants over the price of barrels and balustrades; two things that I had absolutely no interest in whatsoever.
I knew that my father expected me to join him in Città di Castello one day as his apprentice so that I could learn how to buy the materials we needed at the best possible price.
I also knew that I had no desire to do so.
I had never been to Città di Castello, but I could not imagine that I would like it there any more than I liked it here.
I had spent many long hours working in our workshop and listening to my father and his cousin talk about how they wanted me to become a carpenter one day, just like them.
They had even taken me with them to meet some of the other carpenters in town and show them some of the things we made.
I had tried to look interested and ask intelligent questions, but it was all so boring.
I could not imagine spending the rest of my life doing something I did not like just because it was expected of me.
I knew that it would be much easier for me to simply do what my father wanted and become a carpenter like him, but something deep down inside of me told me that I could not do it.
I knew that I would never be happy if I did and I would always regret the choice I had made.
So that left me with a difficult decision to make.
What was I supposed to do?
How could I find a way to be true to myself while still making my father proud?
My thoughts were interrupted when Pietro Perugino called out to me.
“Raphael, come here,” he said.
I crossed the room and came over to where he was working on his fresco.
Perugino turned to face me and studied me for a moment.
“I need your help with something,” he said.
“I have to go on a trip and I will be gone for some time.
My fresco will be unfinished when I leave and the nuns will not be pleased if it is not finished soon.”
“So what can I do to help?”
I asked, curious to see what Perugino had in mind for me.
“I was hoping that you might be willing to help me finish it,” he said with a smile.
“I could really use an extra pair of hands and a fresh set of eyes to help me see it through.”
I nodded in agreement and Perugino showed me what he needed me to do.
The part of the fresco he needed me to work on was the background of the painting: the golden sky that covered the entire top of the wall.
It was by far the largest part of the fresco and it would probably take me the whole time that Perugino was away in order to finish it.
But as I turned back to face the wall and begin my work, something strange happened inside of me and I felt as though I was suddenly seeing things with new eyes.
And that was when the truth hit me: What if this was what art was always supposed to be?
What if it was not just something that I did for fun, but something that was meant to be a part of who I am?
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As much as I loved to paint, there was a small part of me that had always known that my father would never approve.
He had always been supportive of me and had done everything that he could to help me when I told him that I wanted to learn how to paint.
But deep down inside, I knew that he had never believed that it was possible for me to become an artist.
And even though he had been willing to help me pay for art supplies and work in our workshop until a real apprenticeship opened up, the truth had been plain to see: my father did not want me to be an artist.
It had been hard for him when I left home to come to Perugino’s studio and learn how to paint.
He had not wanted me to go, but he had known that there was nothing that he could do to stop me.
I was nineteen years old and there was no way that he could force me to stay at home if it was not what I wanted.
So he had helped me pack up all of my things and take them to Perugino’s studio, where we had met the man himself.
Perugino was a tall man with a beard, which made him look much older than he actually was.
But when you looked into his eyes, you could see the wisdom of a much older man and you knew that you were looking at one of the most talented painters in all of Italy.
I had been very excited when we first arrived at the studio because it had meant that the next stage of my training was about to begin.
But as soon as we walked through the door and Perugino greeted us, the smile on my face had quickly faded away.
My father had made it very clear that day that he did not want me to be there.
He thought that painting was a silly hobby that would never amount to anything and he did not think that it was right for such a young boy like myself to be spending so much time away from home.
And even though he had never said it in so many words, the message had always been clear: My father would have been much happier if I had never left home at all.
And as angry as I had been at him for saying it, I had known that he was right.
My father would have been much happier if I had never left home at all.
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