Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Raphael Drawings in Frankfurt

Photo: Staedel
I liked the Raphael drawings exhibition at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem.  I like the Raphael drawings exhibition in Frankfurt even more.  The Haarlem show gave us context, showing Raphael alongside his pupils, and explaining the process of attributing drawings to the master.  The Frankfurt show is a display of 'greatest hits' based on the Staedel's own excellent collection of Raphael drawings. 
The first section shows the young Raphael developing rapidly, particularly through his engagement with variations on that most traditional subject, the Virgin and Child.  A section focuses on later narratives, including a group of studies showing the evolution of Raphael's ideas for the Disputa, and another section gathers an outstanding selection of studies for the Chigi Chapel.  I was delighted to have the chance to see the magnificent Windsor Castle version of the Massacre of the Innocents, and the Boston Papal Procession, a late work in coloured chalk that has been questioned but which I agree is authentic. 
The wall text is just right - enough to provide context without being overwhelming, with small colour photos of related paintings.  Unfortunately there are videos showing in side rooms, creating a constant distracting drone that's unavoidable at so many exhibitions today.  But the drawings are just amazing. 

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