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Raphael Drawings from Windsor Castle will be exhibited at Getty Museum in Los Angeles

October 31, 2000 - January 7, 2001
Press preview: October 31, 2000, 9-11 a.m.

June 6, 2000

Los Angeles--Raphael and His Circle: Drawings from Windsor Castle will be on view at the Getty Museum from October 31, 2000 through January 7, 2001. The exhibition features 66 drawings on loan from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II selected from the magnificent collection of Old Master drawings and watercolors in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. This will be its only western United States showing after presentations at the Queen's Gallery, London (May 21-October 10, 1999), the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (May 14-July 23, 2000), and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (August 6-September 15, 2000). The exhibition has been organized by the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, in conjunction with the United States and Canadian venues.

Raphael (Raffaello Santi or Sanzio) was born in 1483 in Urbino, a city known for arts and culture, 70 miles east of Florence. He began his career in the studio of his father, the painter Giovanni Santi. Although he lived only to the age of 37, Raphael is recognized as one of the three preeminent painters of the High Renaissance, along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Raphael and His Circle offers an overview of Raphael's short but brilliant career in 25 exquisite drawings which exemplify the principles of composition, types of figure drawing, and systems of workshop collaboration he developed. These elements of Raphael's work set the standards for much of the next four centuries and made his famous large-scale commissions possible. His works on view range from a study for an altarpiece, probably commissioned when he was not yet 20, to drawings for the great projects executed at the height of his fame in Rome. Works by earlier artists who influenced Raphael, and by his assistants who spread interpretations of his work throughout Italy, amplify the magnitude of this master's achievements. One part of the exhibition focuses on Raphael's teachers (Pietro Perugino and Raphael's father, Giovanni Santi), another on his own work, and a third on the work of his assistants (Giulio Romano, Perino del Vaga, and Polidoro da Carravaggio).

A highlight of the show is A study for the left half of the Disputà (about 1509) made for the monumental fresco in the Stanza della Segnatura, the papal library of the Vatican Palace. The vault of this room is decorated with personifications of Theology, Philosophy, Poetry, and Justice, which appear on the ceiling. On the wall under Theology is the Disputà , representing a group discussing the mystery of the Trinity. The fresco, commissioned by Pope Julius II, glorifies Catholic dogma and established Raphael as the premier painter in Rome. The earliest surviving studies for the fresco are featured in the exhibition and show how the master grappled with the difficulties of painting such a large space. A study for the left half of the Disputà reveals the arcs of Raphael's compass, used to proportionally expand the composition while working to fit the expansive wall. The Getty's exhibition will also include a special section on the making of the Disputà with a large reproduction of the final painted fresco.

Another highlight of the exhibition, Raphael's The Three Graces (1517-18), is an exquisite study of a single model in three consecutive poses. The richly toned red chalk drawing reveals Raphael's profound understanding of human anatomy and his full control of the medium. He developed the sensual shapes of the woman's figure with unique clarity and economy, defining highlights by simply leaving areas of paper blank.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 224-page catalog, Raphael and His Circle, by Martin Clayton, assistant curator of the Print Room at Windsor Castle. Published by the Royal Collection, the book includes color reproductions of all the drawings in the exhibition. To order the cloth-covered edition (ISBN: 1-85894-076-1, $60) or paper edition (ISBN: 1-902163-19-2, $35), call 310-440-7059. The catalog is also available in the Getty Museum bookstore.

Related Exhibition

Raphael and His Influence Across the Centuries (October 31, 2000-January 7, 2001) will complement the Windsor exhibition with drawings from the Getty Museum's own collection that illustrate Raphael's impact on his contemporaries and later artists. Drawings by Raphael, including his dramatic study for a tapestry in the Sistine Chapel, Saint Paul Rending His Garments (about 1514-1515), as well as works by his followers will be shown alongside drawings from the Getty's collection of 17th- through 19th- century works that demonstrate artists' enduring fascination with this master. On view will be drawings by artists such as Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640), Nicholas Poussin (French, 1594-1655), and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780-1867).

The exhibition will include Poussin's lively drawing of Apollo and the Muses on Mount Parnassus (about 1630-1632). Raphael's well-known fresco of this theme in the Vatican's Stanza della Segnatura, painted around 1511, so strongly governed Poussin's idea that Apollo and the Muses on Mount Parnassus must be seen as Poussin's act of paying homage to the great master. Executed with a fine quill pen that gives it a buoyantly animated quality, Poussin's treatment of the sun god surrounded by muses and poets at the side of the Castilian Spring is remarkable for its economy of line and abstract simplification of form.

Related Lectures

The Afterlife of Raphael or What to Do When Your Master Dies
Lecture presented by Martin Clayton, assistant curator in the Print Room of the Royal Library at Windsor Castle
Thurs., Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Free. Call 310-440-7300 for reservations.

Spheres of Influence: Raphael and His Art
Adult lecture course given by Ronald Steen, art historian and art educator Explores the life, art, career and visual poetry of Raphael.
Three Sunday sessions: Dec. 3, 10, and 17, 11 a.m.-noon
Museum Lecture Hall Free.
Call 310-440-7300 for reservations.

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The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The Museum's mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.