But a landmark exhibit in Paris' Louvre museum turns this on its head.
It reveals a darker face of the Old Master—previously unknown to the public—in the 10 years up to his death. The exhibit shows how Raphael in that final phase of his life, while facing a crippling workload from a demanding Pope, allowed his students to finish many of his commissions in a more expressionist direction.
Louvre curator Vincent Delieuvin said Raphael also paid homage in that phase to the "dark, tense and expressive" style of Leonardo.
The Louvre said Tuesday that it's the first time all his moveable masterpieces have ever been put together. Many normally hang in churches and other galleries around the world.
The exhibit, "Raphael: The Final Years" runs until January 14.