Rome Tribute to Raphael: Celebrating 500-year anniversary

At the Scuderie del Quirinale from March 5 to June 2, 2020

Rome Tribute to Raphael: Celebrating 500-year anniversary

Over 200 works to celebrate Raffaelo Sanzio, 500 years after the death of this supreme Renaissance artist, a Rome tribute to Raphael will be presented in a large exhibition at the Quirinale Stables in Rome, Italy, from March 5 to June 2, 2020.

Raphael died in Rome, and it is to Rome that he owes his universal fame. It is, therefore, particularly significant that this national tribute takes place in the city where Raphael fully expressed his formidable artistic talent and where his life died out at only 37 years of age.

At the Stables, for the first time, more than 100 autographed masterpieces, or in any case attributable to Raphaelesque ideas among paintings, cartoons, drawings, tapestries, and architectural projects, have been brought together.

These are flanked by as many works of comparison and context – sculptures and other ancient artifacts – for a total amount of 204 works on display, 120 by Raphael himself between paintings and drawings

It is a large monographic exhibition dedicated to the superstar of the Renaissance on the 500th anniversary of his death, which took place in Rome on April 6, 1520, at the age of just 37. Not only an unprecedented artistic journey was interrupted, but also the ambitious graphic reconstruction project of ancient Rome commissioned by the pontiff who would redeem after centuries of oblivion and ruin the greatness and nobility of the capital of the Cesari, also affirming a new idea of protection.

This exhibition is an unrepeatable opportunity to see the most famous and beloved works from all over the world gathered in the same place such as: The Madonna del Granduca and the Veiled of the Uffizi Galleries or the large altarpiece of Santa Cecilia from the Pinacoteca in Bologna – works never returned to Italy since their export for collecting reasons.

This maxi exhibition of Raphael’s creations never seen in the world in such large numbers all together was inaugurated on March 3 in the presence of the highest state offices and official representatives of the main lending countries.

Raphael’s works come from the largest international museums in Italy, the Vatican City, England courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; Germany; Spain; Strasbourg, France; Austria; and Washington DC, US.

For the first time, the portraits of the 2 popes will be admired in the same place in this Rome tribute to Raphael, which allowed Raphael to demonstrate his immense artistic potential in the Roman years – that of Julius II from the National Gallery in London and that of Leo X with the cardinals Giulio dè Medici and  Luigi dè Rossi from the Uffizi in Florence, presented for the first time after a very careful restoration, which lasted 3 years, by the Opificio Delle Pietre Dure in Florence.  An intervention took place that restored its original light and chromatic clarity and the incredible descriptive power of the details.

Buried according to his last wishes in the Rome Pantheon, a symbol of the continuity between different traditions of worship and perhaps the most emblematic example of classical architecture, Raphael immediately becomes the subject of a process of divinization, which has never really been interrupted, and today gives us perfection and the harmony of his art.

Five hundred years later, this exhibition tells its story and at the same time that of all the Western figurative culture that considered it an essential model.

An interview with the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence Dr. Eike Dieter Schmidt

Can you tell us about the selection of the 50 Raphael’s works lent by the Uffizi for this exhibition?

The exhibition is based on scientific research. Many works have been restored for the occasion, then there are works, drawings, discoveries that are seen for the first time in the right context, and here you can also see these combinations between preparatory drawing and finished work that can only take place in the exhibition.

There will be no other opportunity to see them together; this is a unique opportunity to see so much beauty but also so much awareness together.

What do you think is Raphael’s place in the history of art?

Raphael differs from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo above all for his very sociable and lovable character.

It is clear from his portraits that he had a true affection for the people he portrayed; it is based on a very precise and in-depth technique of the personality, and for this reason, they seem like living people – that is they seem our contemporaries even if they lived 5 centuries ago.

There is a great desire to see this exhibition, many reservations, many people who presumably will come to see it. Is it also a way of reacting to the fears of coronavirus?

Already in the Raphael period, there were epidemics; in fact Raphael died at the age of 37 after 8 days of high fever, therefore, in some way Raphael knew this world in which the diseases were turning, and in any case he found beauty and moral goodness, and this was very important for Raffaello.

And it is on this basis that a relationship with Leone X, the great Pope who determined the cultural policy of Rome as a cultural center of the world, was also built, which in the second decade of the sixteenth century with Raphael also translated it into visual terms.

With this beauty, with this humanity, Raphael precisely tries to depict not only the physical body but the soul of people, naturally impossible but gives so much hope.

People in general often come to museums, in exhibitions, to find peace and hope, even relaxation, because now all the more reason for a meditative experience in front of the paintings and in fact, these Raphael paintings can all give even 1-3 hours of reflections in a time we are in Lent, so it is a fair time who is not in quarantine to devote himself to this secular Lent for many in front of Raphael’s paintings in the museums to reflect on the human condition and to meditate.

The exhibition of this Rome tribute to Raphael was closed soon after its official inauguration due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. It can be visited online.

The Scuderie del Quirinale unveiled the exhibition event “Raffaello.1520-1483” and presented the video story of the exhibition available today on the website and on the social accounts of the exhibition space.

Rome Tribute to Raphael: Celebrating 500-year anniversary

Portrait of woman as Venus Fornarina

Rome Tribute to Raphael: Celebrating 500-year anniversary