A “Raphael” of the Vatican Pinacoteca is the protagonist of the 2022 edition of Un Capolavoro per Milano (A Masterpiece for Milan), the traditional Christmas exhibition with which the Milanese Diocesan Museum brings a masterpiece by a great artist to the city. After more than 20 years, when it was Caravaggio's Vatican Deposition that inaugurated the successful Milanese initiative in 2001, it will once again be a work from the papal collections to take centre stage: the Predella of the Oddi Altarpiece (1502-1504) - an exceptional early production by Sanzio - which will be on loan from the Papal Museums from 4 November 2022 to 29 January 2023, so that it can be admired by an even wider public.
The exhibition is dedicated to the late Guido Cornini, a refined scholar of Raphael, with the joint curatorship of the Directors Nadia Righi for the Carlo Maria Martini Diocesan Museum and Barbara Jatta for the Vatican Museums, with the collaboration of Fabrizio Biferali of the Department of XVII-XVIII Century Art, and Alessia Devitini, Conservator of the Milanese museum.
The Oddi Altarpiece, one of the most important commissions the Urbino painter received from Perugia at the beginning of the sixteenth century, was realized for the altar of the chapel of the Oddi family in the church of San Francesco al Prato, and is composed of a central painting depicting the Coronation of the Virgin and the predella dedicated to three Marian episodes: the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
The three sections of the predella clearly reveal the influence of Perugino, but at the same time the genius of the young painter, already projected towards fully Renaissance solutions, with innovative and modern outcomes.
On the occasion of its transfer to Milan, and before temporarily leaving the prestigious Hall VIII (Raphael Hall) of the Vatican Pinacoteca, the predella was entrusted to the expert care of the Laboratory for Paintings and Wooden Materials of the Vatican Museums for a delicate restoration intervention which restored the precious colours used by the divin pittore to their original brilliance.