• Raphael, Painter in Rome

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephanie Storey
  • Narrated by: P. J. Ochlan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (128 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling is one of the most iconic masterpieces of the Renaissance. Here, in Raphael, Painter in Rome, Storey tells of its creation as never before: through the eyes of Michelangelo's fiercest rival - the young, beautiful, brilliant painter of perfection, Raphael. 

Orphaned at age 11, Raphael is determined to keep the deathbed promise he made to his father: become the greatest artist in history. But to be the best, he must beat the best, the legendary sculptor of the David, Michelangelo Buonarroti. 

When Pope Julius II calls both artists down to Rome, they are pitted against each other: Michelangelo painting the Sistine Ceiling, while Raphael decorates the pope's private apartments. As Raphael strives toward perfection in paint, he battles internal demons: his desperate ambition, crippling fear of imperfection, and unshakable loneliness. Along the way, he conspires with cardinals, scrambles through the ruins of ancient Rome, and falls in love with a baker's-daughter-turned-prostitute who becomes his muse. 

With its gorgeous writing, rich settings, endearing characters, and riveting plot, Raphael, Painter in Rome brings to vivid life these two Renaissance masters going head to head in the deadly halls of the Vatican.

©2020 Stephanie Storey (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Raphael, Painter in Rome

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not to the standards of Ms Story

I, personally found the narration distracting rather than adding to the story.
I throughly enjoyed “Oil and Marble”so much I made it a point to personally go to Florence to experience “The David”.

Was the narration of this book so distracting that it ruined an otherwise good book?
I’ll never know.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narration Is Great

The story is sometimes a bit long, but never boring. The narration by P. J. Ochlan is amazing, the different voices for the different characters, the Italian accent. Really enjoyed. What I initially did not like was the way Raphael narrated his story throughout the book, talking to the reader. I'm not sure if I missed in the beginning that he was telling his story to someone specific or if I was just supposed to know. But it grew on me later on.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Fun and Interesting Book

I loved this book and “getting to know” Raphael. I learned about his art and the times when he lived and enjoyed reading his thoughts and imagining how he felt about various events.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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From Raphael’ s perspective

I enjoyed this book. Once I let myself get used to the “accent” of the narrator, it added to the story. From my general knowledge of the artists and period, the main outline and characters are accurate and the fictional conversations add life to the history.
It’s fun to look up the works discussed as the appear in the story.

1 person found this helpful

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Brought Raphael to Life

In preparation for my trip to Rome, I've been enjoying Renaissance biographies - though I wanted something slightly different for my next read. This audiobook was the perfect solution. It allowed me to learn more about Italy, the art I wanted to see in Rome, and had the refreshing energy of a novel.

Hitherto in my reading experiences, Raphael has always been a background character behind Michelangelo or someone used to bash Carravagio's style. P.J. Ochlan's narration brings a youthful exuberance to author Stephanie Storey's Raphael; a man trying to transform the ugliness of his present day into a beautiful perfection in paint in the hopes reality might bend towards something better. Cheesy? Si, certo! Yet the story and narration kept me engaged throughout. Raphael's motivations are clear and his struggles mostly fascinating. I don't want to say much more as there are some surprises you should enjoy for yourself. Chances are if you're researching this novel, you're part of the audience that would enjoy it.

Fun facts: Although I loved Ochlan's narration, it never stopped sounding like Inigo from the Skyrim companion mod (gamers will understand). "Si, certo" and "Oofa" are now part of my daily vocabulary, much to my wife's chagrin, thanks to hearing them repeatedly throughout the novel. Lastly, I highly recommend checking out Stephanie Storey's website where she shows all the works of art mentioned in her novel conveniently broken down by chapters.

Highly recommend, especially if you're planning a visit to Italy.

1 person found this helpful

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Accurate and charming

Having studied lots of art history, including reading several translations of Vasari, I am always expecting dramatizations of the lives of famous people to take substantial liberties with the facts. However, everything that I’ve read comports nicely with Stephanie Storey’s version. This makes me believe that the nuances of the story that were new to me are also well researched.

It may be a polarizing feature that the narration is done in an Italian accent. However, it’s written as a first person narrative, so I found it charming. In addition, it’s written as if Raphael is having a conversation with you and occasionally asks you questions. I also enjoyed this aspect of the novel’s construction.

If you’re prepared to hop in the river, and go with the flow, I think you may well enjoy it, too.

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I can’t quit listening to it!

This was a wonderful trip back in time to see and hear Raphael and MichaelAngelo as they competed for their places in history. Their personalities and the humor manifested by their association delighted me. When I finished listening to it, I savored it a day or two and then listened to it again. It was as delightful the second time through. It’s definitely a winner, right up there with Raphael’s and MchaelAngelo’s works.

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Review of Raphael, Painter in Rome

Such a delightful story, I couldn’t stop listening! I loved the humor and the drama, and learning so much about Raphael. I highly recommend a listen.

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Good historical novel

I had read Oil and Marble first, and had been captivated by the changing speakers and personality that was revealed. I felt this book was good but one sided.