Opening Soon: Raphael: The Drawings 

The Ashmolean Museum, 1 June – 3 September 2017

A dynamic exhibition of the graphic work of Raphael is slated to open 1 June at the Ashmolean Museum. “Raphael: The Drawings” centers on the pivotal role of experimentation and innovation in Raphael’s career as illustrated in an exciting array of his works on paper. 

Catherine Whistler, curator of the exhibition, reflected on the included works in her recent Apollo magazine article: 

In selecting drawings for the exhibition, with the Ashmolean’s unrivalled holdings as a starting point, I felt it was important to present a comprehensive view of Raphael’s range and interests in drawing … but also to highlight his extraordinary powers of invention, orchestration and expression. Rather than trying to reconstruct entire sequences of studies for particular projects, I wanted to present sheets that show the artist testing and brainstorming; or charging his studies with graphic energy so as to give narrative dynamism to figure groupings; or reflecting, often through elaborate studies of facial features, gestures and drapery, on the passions and motivations of his protagonists.

The exhibition features works from the Ashmolean’s collection complemented by examples from other prominent European institutions, including the Albertina and the Louvre museums and will remain on display until early September. For more information on the exhibition, please visit the museum website

Further Reading: 
Peter Aspen, “Doodles of genius: Renaissance master Raphael’s teen sketches” (The Financial Times, 19 May 2017). 

Catherine Whistler, “A new way of looking at Raphael’s drawings” (Apollo, 24 April 2017). 

The heads and hands of two apostles, circa 1519-20. © Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Putto holding the Medici Ring, circa 1513-14. © Teylers Museum, Haarlem. 

A man carrying an older man on his back, circa 1513-14. © Albertina Museum, Vienna.

Posted by Alexis Culotta 

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