Peale was born in Philadelphia as the son and first child of Rachel and Charles Willson Peale, a famous portraitist.
Lived in Philadelphia, on a home at the corner of 3rd and Lombard.
Married Martha (Patty) McGlathery at the age of 20.
First first professional exhibition was in 1795 at the age of 21.
Artist. Born Raphaelle Peale in Annapolis, Maryland on February 17, 1774, the fifth child, though eldest surviving, of Charles Willson Peale and his first wife Rachel Brewer. As with all the Peale children, Raphael was trained by his father as an artist. Early in his career, the pair collaborated on portraits. On some commissions, Raphael painted miniatures while his brother, Rembrandt, painted full size portraits.
In 1792, he made a trip to South America in order to collect specimens for the Peale's Museum. In 1797, with his brother Rembrandt, he traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, where they attempted to establish another museum. The plan fell through, however, and Raphael returned to painting miniatures.
He married Martha McGlathery at about that same time, and with her had eight children. For about two years beginning in 1803, Raphael toured Virginia with the ??physiognotrace,' a profile making machine, with which he was briefly successful. In August 1808, he was hospitalized with delirium tremens, exacerbated by severe gout. By 1813, he was unable to walk without crutches. After the downturn in his health, in an era when most artists considered still life a subject worthy only of amateurs, he devoted himself almost exclusively to still life painting. It is for these works he is best known. Raphael Peale is today considered the founder of the American Still Life school. His work was on frequent exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts between 1814 and 1818. After reportedly indulging in a night of heavy drinking, his health destroyed, Raphael died on March 3, 1825 at age 51 at his home in Philadelphia.
Peale's tightly grouped still lifes are often permeated with a delicate melancholy akin to that which characterized the life of the artist; he was an alcoholic who suffered the effects of arsenic and mercury poisoning caused by his work as a taxidermist in his father's museum. His spare, essential style may have been influenced by the Spanish still lifes he studied in Mexico and by the works of Juan Sanchez Cotan, exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1818.