Raphael (1483–1520) was one of the greatest artistic figures working in the Western classical tradition. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of his death, the Gallery presents 25 prints and drawings in an intimate installation. The works will illustrate how the combination of artistic traditions, wide range, and immediate influence of Raphael’s art shaped the standard of aesthetic excellence for later artists, connoisseurs, and scholars. The exhibition features four drawings by Raphael: the sheet from which the design of his painting Saint George and the Dragon (c. 1506, National Gallery of Art) was transferred; the cartoon for the so-called Belle Jardinière (La Vierge à l'Enfant avec le petit saint Jean-Baptiste, 1507 or 1508, Louvre Museum, Paris); a detailed representation of the prophets Hosea and Jonah; and a well-known study for part of the frescoes in the church of Santa Maria della Pace in Rome. Nine drawings by his closest collaborators and followers—Giulio Romano, Polidoro da Caravaggio, and Perino del Vaga—are also on view. The exhibition includes 10 engravings, as well as a chiaroscuro woodcut, by the earliest interpreters of Raphael’s designs: Marcantonio Raimondi and his followers Agostino Veneziano and Marco Dente da Ravenna as well as Ugo da Carpi. The Gallery’s five paintings by Raphael—the largest and most important group outside a few European collections—represent the central decade of his activity and will be on view on the main floor of the West Building to complement this exhibition.
The exhibition is curated by Jonathan Bober, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art.