Raphael is one of a triumvirate of Italian Renaissance artists most people know – Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Raffaello Santi (1483-1520).

The Ashmolean is showing 120 of Raphael’s drawings in an exhibition which has won plaudits from the press.

Drawings – or “cartoons” – were often the starting point for a painting or portrait, although some artists’ sketches are so skillful and striking in themselves that they form a separate catalogue from the paintings or sculptures. Many artists’ drawings, however, are studies of figures which will appear in a much larger paintings or murals, so they enable the viewer to study how an artist “mapped out” their work.

For previous generations of artists, drawing was an essential component of their skill as an artist – and figurative, life drawing and draughtsmanship were considered extremely important. It is only fairly recently that art has become more expressive and the ability to draw accurately, and in detail, less important.

Tickets to the Raphael exhibition in Oxford cost £13.50 and are pre-bookable, with concessions:

  • Entry is FREE for children under 12 years, University of Oxford students and Members of the Ashmolean.
  • Tickets are discounted at 50% for children aged 12–17 years and Art Fund Members.
  • Concession tickets are available for senior citizens, students, those who are unemployed, and University of Oxford staff & alumni.

More information is available at the Ashmolean website.

Raphael’s missing painting

Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man (1514) was stolen by the Nazis during WWII – and went missing somewhere between Berlin and Linz as it was being transferred to the Fuhrer’s private collection.  It is now worth an estimated $100 million – but its whereabouts remains a mystery and it is one of the most searched for paintings in the world.  It sometimes pops up in the storylines of films like The Monuments Men, which speculated that it had been destroyed. It is also thought by some that the painting is a self-portrait, adding to the intrigue surrounding it.

In September, London’s National Gallery will host the conference 70 Years and Counting: The Final Opportunity, which is organised by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and is sponsored by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe – 72 years after the end of WWII, chances to return stolen artworks to their rightful owners are running out, but the hunt is still on.

So, take a good look at the missing Raphael – and keep your eyes peeled wherever you go.


Portrait of a Young Man, Raphael, 1514

Raphael and the Pantheon, Rome

If you are suffering the sweltering heat of Rome right now, you can head off to the cool shade of the Pantheon, where Raphael is buried, and pay your respects to the great artist.

Pantheon dome sized
Pantheon dome 

Buon viaggio!

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