Paul Johnson

Worshipper of Women

Raphael: A Passionate Life

By

Polity Press 285pp £20 order from our bookshop

It is a matter of fine judgement which was the greater loss to European culture: the early death of Mozart or that of Raphael. Mozart was thirty-five and in the midst of composing his Requiem, Raphael two years older and embarking on his new career as an architect. Both were already enormously productive, but there is no calculating what we have lost by their abrupt disappearances – not least since both were gentle, obliging, sweet-natured, strangers to jealousy and professional rivalry, and generous to pupils and followers.

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