It is here! After six years of planning: the great Raphael exhibition that I’ve co-curated with Tom Henry and David Ekserdjian has opened at the National Gallery in London. It presents a comprehensive overview of Raphael’s entire career and charts his creativity across media and art forms, beyond drawing and painting to architecture and to design for tapestry, print, sculpture and the applied arts, as well as his activities as an archaeologist and art theorist. Even his essays in poetry are included. Need I say that the loans we have received from across Europe and the United States are incredible?
Originally planned for 2020, to mark the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death on 6 April, Good Friday 1520, it was postponed due to the pandemic. I’m relieved that it is finally happening. Raphael feels so urgent today, not least after two years of pandemic and the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and with the sometimes crushing awareness of the challenges posed by climate change and environmental destruction. Raphael’s art and whole ethos is the opposite of that — a passionate assertion of human dignity, community and civilisation. Art doesn’t change the world, of course, but it still reflects it.
Do go, often and repeatedly, if you can. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Book here.