More than sugary madonnas: trendy views of Raphael are all wrong


More than sugary madonnas: trendy views of Raphael are all wrong

Dismissing the work of the great Renaissance artist as ‘too beautiful’ is clichéd and utter nonsense

Alastair Sooke

As we emerge from lockdown, the art world, like many spheres, is awash with anxiety. How will museums and galleries cope with reduced budgets and restricted travel?

Everyone agrees that the blockbuster exhibition may – temporarily, at least – become a thing of the past. So, it is with the air of one last hurrah that on Tuesday the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome reopens its exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the death of the Italian artist Raphael (1483-1520).

At last, the “once-in-a-lifetime” marketing hype feels justified. Forced to shut within days following the imposition of Italy’s lockdown, the show was the centrepiece of various high-profile Raphael exhibitions planned for 2020, including one at London’s National Gallery, which has been pushed back by a couple of years. Thankfully, the Rome exhibition has been extended, to the end of August. For now, though, people outside of Italy will have to make do with a 13-minute virtual tour on YouTube...

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