Following the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael (1483–1520) in 2020, visitors were invited to experience the Italian Renaissance master's exquisite drawings and trace his influence through the work of his pupils.
During his relatively short life, Raphael went from provincial obscurity as the son of a court artist in Urbino in central Italy, to establishing himself as the dominant painter, architect and all-round artistic designer at the Papal court in Rome.
Central to Raphael’s success was his brilliance in drawing, which facilitated his rapid analysis and absorption of the work of his contemporaries, most notably Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) and Michelangelo (1475–1564). This dexterity allowed him to explore his ideas and then direct his studio and school to realise them in a wide variety of media.
The works displayed highlighted Raphael’s development as a draughtsman and showed how his talented pupils – Perino del Vaga, Polidoro da Caravaggio, Giulio Romano and Giovanni Francesco Penni – continued to draw with a similar inventive and free-flowing spirit.