Rome’s Scuderie del Quirinale Museum showed Renaissance artist's works for three days before Italy went into lockdown.
No, it’s not a typo in the name of the exhibit at Rome’s Scuderie del Quirinale Museum, “Raffaello: 1520-1483.” The museum purposely switched the artist Raphael’s life dates, placing the year of his death first. The collection, marking the 500th anniversary of his death, takes a look at the artist’s life beginning with his later paintings and working backwards.
To celebrate the anniversary, the museum amassed over 120 of Raphael’s works, said to be the greatest collection ever assembled in one place. It includes loans from the Louvre, the Prado, the Uffizi and London’s National Gallery.
The loan from Florence’s Uffizi, in fact, caused quite a stir. The museum’s recently-restored depiction of Pope Leo X with two cardinals was long considered too valuable to move, Lonely Planet said. The Uffizi scientific committee collectively resigned in protest when the loan was approved.
The Scuderie del Quirinale exhibit also has a life-sized reproduction of Raphael’s tomb, copied from the nearby Pantheon.
All of this was in the works, of course, before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down in Rome and elsewhere. The exhibit had pre-sold 70,000 tickets and had been welcoming visitors for three days — but then Italy went into lockdown March 8.
All is not lost, however. Whether or not Rome’s museums are able to reopen before the show’s scheduled ending of June 2, a museum-produced video takes Raphael fans on a 13-minute tour of the galleries. Other videos focus more specifically on each work.
Lonely Planet suggests that if you like what you see here, you might want to check out the virtual 360-degree tour of the Raphael rooms in the Vatican Museums, which includes the artist’s magnum opus, The School of Athens.