Museum Stories

500 years of Raphael. Exhibitions in 2020

Candy Bedworth 11 February 2020 min Read

He was sometimes known as Il divino – the divine one – for his expert mastery of space and proportion. And this year, in the 500th anniversary of his death, you can get up close and personal with the great master of the High Renaissance in Italy: Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known simply as Raphael. Let's explore Raphael exhibitions in 2020.

Art historian Bernard Berenson called Raphael the most famous and most loved master of the high Renaissance period. And it is true that Raphael changed the face of art. He is truly one of the most influential and naturally gifted painters in the history of art.

Raphael left behind a huge range of paintings, and this year has seen a scramble amongst galleries to showcase his astonishing works. Wherever you live in the world, a Raphael may be calling your name! Here at DailyArt Magazine we have scoured arts listings across the globe to find out where and when you can stand in the glow of genius and see a Raphael for yourself. Check out the list below:

1. Rome: Rafaello

Possibly the biggest and best of all the events this year is in Italy. A huge blockbuster of an exhibition will be held at Rome’s Scuderie del Quirinale from 5th March to 2nd June 2020. Half of the 200 exhibits are by Raphael himself.

Raphael. Exhibitions in 2020
Raphael, La Velada, or the woman with the veil, 1515, Uffizi, on loan to Scudere del Quirnale, Rome, Italy.

2. Urbino: Raphael and His Friends of Urbino

In the town of his birth, the Urbino Galleria Nazionale delle Marche opened an exhibition called Raphael and his Friends of Urbino which sadly ended in January 2020. But their exhibition of Italian Renaissance majolica (which the English often call Raphael ware) runs until 13th April 2020.

Raphael and His Friends of Urbino, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino, Italy.

3. Milan: The Room of the Stanza: Raphael's Cartoon for the School of Athens

The Ambrosiana in Milan has unveiled a freshly conserved cartoon of one of Raphael’s most famous paintings, The School of Athens. A four-year restoration project allows visitors to get up close to the individual charcoal strokes and shading, drawn by Raphael’s hand alone.

Raphael. Exhibitions in 2020
Raphael, Cartoons for The School of Athens, 1509-1511, Ambrosiana, Milan, Italy.

4. London: The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Raphael

London’s National Gallery holds 11 paintings by Raphael. Their Credit Suisse sponsored exhibition will run all year until 24th January 2021, is a full-scale retrospective, and should be a revelation.

Raphael, Madonna of the pinks, 1507, National Gallery, London, UK.

5. London: Raphael Cartoons

Also in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum will be highlighting the seven huge Raphael tapestry cartoons of St Peter and St Paul that they hold. The Raphael Court is being fully refurbished and will re-open late 2020.

Raphael, Cartoon of The Conversion of the Proconsul or The Blinding of Elymas, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

6. Paris: Body and Soul: Sculpture in Italy from Donatello to Michelangelo

Although the Louvre in Paris is not planning a dedicated Raphael exhibition, it will present an Italian Renaissance show called Body and Soul: Sculpture in Italy from Donatello to Michelangelo 1460-1520. This runs 6th May to 17th August 2020.

Raphael. Exhibitions in 2020
Raphael, Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, 1514–1515, Louvre, Paris, France.

7. Washington: Raphael and His Circle

Over the water in the USA, the National Gallery of Art in Washington will be showing Raphael and His Circle from 16th February to 14th June 2020.

Raphael, Saint George and the dragon, 1504-06, National Gallery of Art, Washington, USA.

8. Pasadena: Raphael 2020

Also in America, the Norton Simon Museum in California will be exhibiting the only Raphael painting held on the West coast, Madonna and Child with Book, until 18th  May 2020.

Raphael. Exhibitions in 2020
Raphael, Madonna and child with book, 1502-3, Norton Simon Museum, California, USA.

What a line-up! If you can get to an exhibition this year, we urge you to go. And of course there are architectural gems in Italy such as the Chigi Chapel and St Peter's Basilica where you can see further evidence of the genius of Raphael. To read more about the roller-coaster life of the charming and affable Raphael, check out our article:
Raphael – Renaissance Prince of Painters

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