Raphael’s Portrait of the Artist with a Friend, also known as Double Portrait, is a painting dating back to around 1518-1520. The artwork depicts two men seated in front of a dark background. The man on the left, whose identity is uncertain but possibly a self-portrait of Raphael, is looking directly at the viewer while his friend on the right, Baldassare Castiglione sits turned towards him.
The painting was possibly produced due to Raphael’s friendship with Baldassare Castiglione who was considered a quintessential High Renaissance gentleman example. Castiglione and Raphael were known for their friendship, which may have influenced this artwork. This belief had led some scholars to suggest that this portrait symbolizes friendship and civic humanism ideals.
Raphael’s successful early career can be attributed to his connections with Italian masters of the time. His skillful brushwork and inventive compositions made him one of the most popular artists in Rome during this period. Double Portrait is an excellent example of his artistry that explores character analysis through facial expression and gesture.