As well as frescoes, many of his projects involved designing everything from the sculpture, the stucco work, the mosaic and the architecture. He also painted many portraits, including the 'Baldassare Castiglione' (c.1515) and the 'Sistine Madonna' (c.1512-1514). He showed a great mastery of subtle characterisation and was skilled in his use of rich colours.
In 1514, Raphael became architect to St. Peter's and, besides Bramante, stands as one of the greatest High Renaissance artists. Upon his death in 1520, the Pope was said to have been greatly upset; he said he was considering making Raphael a cardinal. The body of work he left was impressive, though it is difficult to assess which were produced solely by him without the help of assistants. Raphael’s last masterpiece is the Transfiguration (commissioned by Giulio Cardinal de’ Medici in 1517), an enormous altarpiece that was unfinished at his death and completed by his assistant Giulio Romano.
Raphael died on his 37th birthday. His funeral mass was celebrated at the Vatican, his Transfiguration was placed at the head of the bier, and his body was buried in the Pantheon in Rome. Following his death, Raphael's movement toward Mannerism influenced painting styles in Italy’s advancing Baroque period. Celebrated for the balanced and harmonious compositions of his "Madonnas," portraits, frescoes and architecture, Raphael continues to be widely regarded as the leading artistic figure of Italian High Renaissance classicism. "It is from his having taken so many models that he became himself a model for all succeeding painters: always imitating and always original." Sir Joshua Reynolds.