The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Raphael ★★★★★ The National Gallery | Apr 9 - Jul 31, 2022


The artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari described Raphael as "the universal artist" and this exhibition proves that assertion. Raphael's interest in drawing, printmaking, decorative arts, tapestries and architecture, plus his fascination with archaeology, are all covered. The eight rooms are arranged in chronological order and the pieces displayed are not only from Britain, but also from the Louvre, the Prado, the Uffizi and the National Gallery in Washington among others. This is a simply stunning assemblage of the artist's output over his brief life. It provides a sense of his development, his varied interests and the political and social world which he inhabited. There is an opportunity to compare his various pictures of the Madonna and child, a full-size reproduction of the so-called School of Athens fresco at the Vatican Palace, plus some fascinating portraits of his patrons and friends. This is simply a definitive exhibition of one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance. It brings together in one place works that viewers will probably never have another opportunity to see displayed together. This exhibition offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience that no one who cares about the history of art should miss.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: The Madonna and Child with the Infant Baptist (The Garvagh Madonna), circa 1509-10, by Raphael. © The National Gallery, London

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