By Anne Leader

The Worcester Art Museum is currently exhibiting its so-called Northbrook Madonna (above right) alongside one of America’s great art treasurers, the lovely devotional image showing the Virgin Mary and Christ Child, known as the Small-Cowper Madonna, by High Renaissance master Raphael, on loan from the National Gallery of Art (above left). On Saturday, 12 September 2015, the museum will host a symposium with talks given by leading experts on Italian Renaissance Art. An announcement from Jon Seydl, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art, follows:

A symposium at the Worcester Art Museum

Throughout his brief career, the prolific and exceptionally productive Raphael relied on a network of collaborators to assist him in carrying out his altarpieces and smaller devotional images, frescoes, and architectural projects, and to realize the sculpture, tapestries, prints, and precious objects he designed.  Some of Raphael’s collaborators, like Giulio Romano and Gianfrancesco Penni, were pupils and longstanding members of his workshop; others, like Timoteo Viti and Lorenzo Lotto, were friends or fellow artists who worked with the master briefly on a specific project. Expediency was often the motivation behind these short-term collaborations, as Raphael enlisted others to help him carry out a work that he was too inexperienced–or increasingly, too busy–to realize fully on his own, or that he abandoned in the course of his peregrinations that led him from Urbino to Perugia, Florence, and Rome.  

This symposium has been occasioned by the pairing of Raphael’s Small Cowper Madonna from the National Gallery of Art in Washington with the enigmatic Northbrook Madonna from the Worcester Art Museum.  The latter work may be the product of such an artistic partnership, although the precise nature of the collaboration (if one was operating in this instance) has yet to be explicated.  The works remain on display together in Worcester through September 27, 2015.

Preliminary Program

Introduction: Linda Wolk-Simon

Session One: Urbino and Umbria

• Sylvia Ferino-Padgen (Raphael’s earliest collaborators in Urbino and Perugia);

• Robert G. La France (Domenico Alfani and Timoteo Viti: Parallel Lives?);

 Session Two:  Florence

• Sheryl Reiss (Raphael’s Patronage Networks during his Florentine Years);

• Tom Henry (“ciò che haveva dell’arte, l’aveva da me” – When does learning and collaboration cross the line? Raphael’s artistic strategy in Florence)

 Session Three: Rome

• Lisa Pon (Raphael, Marcantonio Raimondi, Baviera, and the print market);

• Robert Williams (Raphael and Gianfrancesco Penni);

 Discussants include Paul Joannides

This symposium has been generously supported by the Robert Lehman Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation

To register for the symposium, click here to be redirected to the museum’s online registration system, or call 508-793-4333.

Click here to learn more about Raphael: The Cowper Madonna at the Worcester Art Museum

Cost: $20 nonmembers, $10 Members, Free for Students.

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