Here’s a look at the must-see exhibitions around the world in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael.
Raphael Sanzio was not only one of the most important Renaissance artists, but he was also an innovator who introduced a new way of thinking about art with his particular style. His work became an archetype for all the painting academies during his time, and many subsequent painters claimed to have been his “students” across the centuries in their account of the development of their own art.
That’s precisely why the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death could not go unnoticed. In the wake of all the cultural initiatives that celebrated the anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death throughout 2019, 2020 will be a year full of exhibitions and events taking place all over the world to celebrate Raphael Sanzio. Here are five of them.
March 25, 2020 Update: The first four institutions are temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. We’ll update this page with new information as it becomes available. The last item, however, is a virtual exhibit you can view on your phone, tablet or computer—no traveling required.
1. Raffaello, Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome
The Raphael exhibition being held at the Scuderie del Quirinale is undoubtedly the most important—a grandiose tribute to the incredible Renaissance artist. Raphael spent the last decade of his life in Rome, and the city is celebrating his quincentennial with an exhibition featuring more than 200 of his masterpieces–the highest number of Raphael’s works ever showed in a single exhibition, which include paintings, sketches, and many others from major institutions like the Uffizi, the Louvre and the Prado that the Madonna del Granduca, the Woman with a Veil, the Portrait of Balthasar Castiglione, the Louvre’s Self-portrait with a Friend and the Madonna of the Rose will all be exhibited at the Scuderie. March 5 to June 2
2. Raphael and His Circle, National Gallery of Art, Washington
The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. will feature 26 prints and drawings by Raphael’s students and contemporaries that are part of the museum’s permanent collection, in addition to four drawings by Raphael himself. Comparing the master’s works with those of his contemporaries sheds light on both the styles of those he influenced and how his style became a standard of Western art from that point onward. The prints on display also show how Raphael made use of this technique to spread his innovations and make them renowned far beyond Italy’s borders. February 16 to June 14, 2020
3. Il Raffaello dell’Ambrosiana. In principio il cartone (The Raphael of the Ambrosiana. In the beginning was the sketch.), Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan
Since March 2019, Raphael’s preparatory drawing for the Vatican Museum’s School of Athens has been on display at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The drawing has been restored and displayed as part of an installation that also includes educational and informative material showcasing the history, technique and restoration process of this masterpiece.
4. The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Raphael, National Gallery, London
Thanks to the contribution of Credit Suisse, London‘s National Gallery is hosting an exhibition to celebrate Raphael’s immortal legacy in a wide variety of artistic fields. It will feature not only his most famous drawings and paintings (many on loan from the Hermitage, the Vatican Museum and the Louvre), but also his architecture, sculptures, tapestries, prints, and poems. All these artworks will offer the viewer a different perspective on Raphael and show just how influential this Renaissance master was in diverse artistic fields. October 3, 2020 to January 24, 2021
5. Musement’s Virtual Museum
Thanks to the internet, it’s not impossible to find most of Raphael’s works in one place. For a digital retrospective on the works of this inimitable Renaissance artist, we’ve created a Virtual Museum that provides a look at over 100 of the artist’s most exemplary works. Browse by country and museum or click on any image that catches your eye. Get an up-close and personal glimpse at the School of Athens, a masterpiece in the Vatican Museums, and the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, whose permanent home is the Met, all in the same visit. Click here to check it out.