Thursday, June 8, 2017

Raphael: The Drawings review – a magnificent, mind-opening exhibition

By Jonathon Jones
Tenderness … The Heads and Hands of Two Apostles, circa 1519-20, Raphael. Photograph: Ashmolean Museum,University of Oxford
OXFORD, England---woman is running towards us, mouth open in a scream, a baby cradled in her arms. The violence around her seems to part and give safe passage through the slaughter. There are three drawings of this harrowing New Testament scene, "The Massacre of the Innocents," in the Ashmolean Museum’s outstanding exhibition of Raphael’s drawings. They were done in Rome in about 1509-10, when the artist was in his mid-20s. But that image is blown away by this exhibition, which cuts past all the copies, fame and cliche to make contact with the man himself. We stand at his shoulder while he works. The man we meet is not a careerist favourite of the pope. He is a rare spirit whose art is a mirror of his idealism. [More]
Her eyes are hollow pits of despair … Study for The Massacre of the Innocents, circa 1509-10, Raphael. Photograph: © Trustees of the British Museum