Raphael Sanzio da Urbino (1483-1520) was at the peak of his artistic power 500 years ago, in 1512-1515. Above is his portrait of Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, usually dated "c. 1515." To my mind this is one of the supreme portraits, a work of majestic perfection.
Portrait of Bindo Altoviti, 1514-1515. Don't you feel that a glance at this images tells you everything about him?
La Dona Velata (The Lady with the Veil), 1515-1516. To me this is another of the most beautiful paintings; I'd take this over the Mona Lisa any day.
Cartoon for a tapestry of The Miraculous Draw of Fishes, 1514, and details.
The Sistine Madonna, 1513-1514. Raphael's mature paintings astonish me every time I look at at them; I can find no flaw to protest, nothing to quibble about -- I can only look in awe.
One of the figures from the Double Portrait of c. 1516.
One of the things that fascinates me about the glorious art of the high Renaissance is that the theory behind it was crap. These men thought they were recreating an ancient world they understood not at all; the Florentines thought their baptistery was an ancient Roman survival, when really it was a Romanesque work of the 12th century. Without even knowing what was ancient and what medieval, they dismissed medieval art as grotesque barbarity. Their thought their aesthetics was based on Plato, but really their idea of Platonic thought derived from men who lived centuries after Plato, and even that they did not understand. But somehow out of their ignorant vanity, their foolish pride in their own time and place, and their faith in themselves, they erected an astonishing monument of perfect beauty. (Detail of the Madonna della seggiola, 1513-1514.)