The Vatican Museums present their first digital exhibition, thus honouring, in an unprecedented and innovative way, their historical photographic heritage and, above all, paying a further tribute to Raphael Sanzio through the eighth art at the end of the celebrations for the fifth centenary of his death.
From 25 November - on the occasion of the Thursdays in the Museums event dedicated to the appreciation of the Vatican Photo Library - it will be possible to view the photographic exhibition “Raffaello in Vaticano. La memoria fotografica del divin pittore tra fine ’800 e primo ’900” (Raphael in the Vatican. The photographic memorial of the “divin pittore” between the late 19th and early 20th century) free of charge on the portal of the Pope’s Museums (Online Catalogue): a project curated by Paola Di Giammaria, Head of the Photo Library, in collaboration with Francesca Martusciello, Scientific Officer at the same Service.
A small but significant selection of sixty-five photographic prints in various formats and three glass negatives pay homage to the work of the Urbino painter and the undisputed masterpieces of his Roman sojourn in the service of Popes Julius II and Leo X, such as the Rooms (Stanze) and the Loggias (Logge) that bear his name. The albumen and charcoal prints of the Alinari brothers and the Brogi, or the later gelatin prints of Moscioni and Anderson, show how photography, through the evolution of refined technical procedures, soon became an avant-garde means of direct observation of the model, capable of fully restoring Raphael's high mastery. The photographic technique proves to be an extraordinary instrument of truth and a fascinating testimony of the layout of rooms or the movement of movable works and, a highly topical theme, of the state of conservation of paintings at the turn of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.
The exhibition initiative, which is also the result of important work to secure, restore, archive and digitise the historic photographic collection of the Pope’s Museums, extends the range of digital content - already much appreciated during the lockdown - and confirms the Institution’s commitment to making its artistic heritage increasingly accessible and shareable through the intelligent and constructive use of new technologies.