Raphael Rosenberg grew up in Milan, studied in Munich and Basel.
He was assistant professor at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau and the Collège de France, had a chair for early modern and contemporary art history at the University of Heidelberg, and since 2009 at the University of Vienna. He was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies Berlin, is a member of the Heidelberger Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Academia Europaea. His main areas of research are the Italian Renaissance, the history of abstraction in art and the development of cognitive methods in art history. He is the author of Beschreibungen und Nachzeichnungen der Skulpturen Michelangelos. Eine Geschichte der Kunstbetrachtung and was the curator of the exhibition Turner – Hugo – Moreau: Die Entdeckung der Abstraktion at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.