Renaissance at Oxford
An exhibition of drawings by the Italian renaissance master Raphael opened this week at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, an hour's train ride from London.
Running until 3 September, it offers a unique insight, into the inner workings of one of the three greatest artists of his time. Dating from the early part of his career to his death in 1520, aged just 37, these 120 exquisite preparatory studies provide a vivid cumulative picture of the creative processes that went into his paintings.
The drawings are on display in 3 rooms on the third floor of the Museum. The museum's own permanent collection holds the world's largest and most important group of Raphael drawings. To these have been added material from the Albertina Museum in Vienna and other drawings from private collections in several countries.
The exhibition shows how Raphael developed his skills from his early days in the city of Urbino to his vibrant creative years in Florence and finally to Rome, where he reached the peak of his art working in the Vatican.
By looking at these drawings we can gain a true insight into how Raphael conceived his masterful paintings. The immediacy of the drawings is thrilling, as is his mastery of draughtsmanship and multiple techniques. But what is most striking is the way he depicts emotions through contrasts of light and shade.
A fascinating video at the entrance of the exhibition explains the artist's varied techniques while a nearby vitrine displays samples of the materials he would have used.
It was customary at the time for artists to learn by copying and it is evident here that Raphael copied the great masters, his older contemporaries Leonardo and Michelangelo, to hone his painterly skills. This exhibition puts on show his learning curve, and for anyone interested in art it is itself a great learning opportunity.
Article by Claudia Barbieri
文章由 Claudia Barbieri 所著