Whilst art historians and collectors have for centuries regarded the drawings of Raphael as among the most expressive art works in the entire Western tradition, their study has traditionally been led by connoisseurship, focusing on questions of style, attribution and date.
The Ashmolean’s forthcoming exhibition, in the Summer of 2017, will take a different approach, examining Raphael’s drawings not as essentially preparatory to more ‘finished’ paintings, but through the conceptual lens of eloquence. Exploring their graphic language, materiality, visual rhetoric and agency, the exhibition will consider the drawings’ cognitive and expressive dimensions as the work of the experienced, ‘intelligent’ hand of the artist.
This kind of investigation presents exciting new opportunities for interdisciplinary work and a research project supported by the Leverhulme Trust has enabled an extended engagement with the drawings from a wide variety of points of view. To facilitate the conversation around Raphael and eloquence, the Museum and the Ashmolean University Engagement Programme will be running a series of events over the coming months, based around Raphael’s drawings. We hope to bring the expertise of colleagues and researchers throughout the university to bear on these extraordinary and beautiful objects.
If you're interested in taking part in the opening workshop on 9th January 2017 check out our Opportunities page.
Public Engagement with Research