Art: ‘After Raphael. 1520 -2020’ – State Hermitage Museum, Russia (Video)

A film about the Exhibition “After Raphael. 1520 – 2020” at the State Hermitage Museum. Director of the film – Manas Sirakanyan. The film was made with the support of the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, U.S. Embassy Moscow and the Hermitage Museum Foundation (USA)

Raphael is the most influential artist of the Modern Era. Over the course of five centuries, exponents of Mannerism and Academicism, Caravaggisti and masters of the Baroque, Romantics and Modernists have invariably compared their own work with Raphael’s legacy. What is the cause of such fame? What did his name represent in this or that historical period, and what does it represent today? What connects the artist’s followers in different centuries? The exhibition in the Hermitage is an attempt to answer those questions and to look at the art of the past 500 years through the lens of Raphael’s influence.

The large-scale display includes more than 300 exhibits – paintings, graphic art, sculpture and applied art from the Hermitage’s own stocks and twelve other collections in Russia and Western Europe. They include both famous masterpieces and previously unknown works. Dozens of paintings and pieces of graphic art are leaving the museum’s storerooms and being presented to the public for the first time, while a whole number of the exhibits are going on show after painstaking restoration in the Hermitage’s workshops.

The display opens with works by the master himself: a painting and drawings from European collections. Without claiming to be a full representation of the artist’s oeuvre, they serve to set the tone, as it were, and after viewers have “tuned themselves in” it will be easier for them to identify echoes of Raphaelesque harmony in the works from later centuries. The choice of graphic art for this purpose reveals another dimension to the main metaphor: it is specifically the beauty of the clear, precise line, so evident in the drawings made by the master’s own hand, that lies at the foundation of the aesthetics of Raphael himself and many of his followers.

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