Milan, restoration of Raphael's School of Athens cartoon ends. For the work now a dedicated exhibition

The restoration of the cartoon of Raphael's School of Athens ends in Milan. Results presented from March 27, 2019.

In Milan , the restoration of the preparatory cartoon of the School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio (Urbino, 1483 - Rome, 1520) has come to an end after four years of work. The restoration project, directed and coordinated by Maurizio Michelozzi, and the rearrangement of the room that houses it at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, curated by Stefano Boeri, will be presented to the city and the international public from March 27, 2019, with the inauguration of the major event Il Raffaello dell’Ambrosiana. In principio il Cartone. The operation confirms the presence of the work and of the Pinacoteca itself within an “ideal” circuit of Renaissance Milan.

It is a work of great importance because it is the largest Renaissance cartoon we know of (measuring 285 by 804 centimeters) and is entirely made by Raphael’s hand as a preparatory drawing, life-size, for the celebrated School of Athens, one of the four frescoes commissioned in 1508 from Raphael by Pope Julius II to decorate the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican. More correctly, the title of the well-known fresco would be La Filosofia (The Philosophy): in fact, the four walls of the Stanza della Segnatura propose, according to a complex iconographic program, the allegories of Philosophy, Theology (the Dispute on the Blessed Sacrament), Jurisprudence(The Virtues) and Poetry(The Parnassus). The Ambrosiana cartoon has been preserved in its entirety on an exceptional basis, as it was not actually used to transport Raphael’s drawing to the wall, but to show the Pope the overall effect of the work when completed.

The cartoon, divided into “duoi pezzi di disegno di Raphaele d’Urbino in cartone,” is now in Milan because it arrived in the Ambrosiana in 1610 as a loan from Count Fabio II Visconti di Brebbia, only to be definitively ceded in 1626 by his widow Bianca Spinola Borromeo, for the sum of six hundred imperial liras. In May 1796 it was requisitioned by the French commissioner Peignon, who mentions the Cartone at the head of the works to be confiscated from the Ambrosiana: a lengthy procedure was begun in Paris to restore the work. On September 30, 1815, the Cartone was handed over by the Director General of the Louvre to the Austrian Commission for the recovery of works of art from the Italian regions under Austrian rule. Transferred in 1918 to Rome to be protected from the risks of wartime bombing, in 1942 it was secured in the vault of the Cassa di Risparmio delle Province Lombarde; in 1946 it was displayed at the Lucerne exhibition organized to recover funds for the reconstruction of the Ambrosiana. The last renovation of Room 5 of the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, curated by Luigi Caccia Dominioni, took place in 1966.

Fondazione Fiera Milano, an official partner of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana for the biennium 2018-2019, will help support the promotional activities of the Raphael Cartoon as well as those to enhance the institution’s Leonardo heritage, carried out on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the death of the Florentine genius. The restoration work was entirely supported by the contribution of the company RaMo SpA, at the behest of Founder Giuseppe Rabolini. The Cardboard will now be placed in a new display case, replacing the one made in 1966 by Luigi Caccia Dominioni, and will return to the public view fully restored from March 27, 2019. Designed and built by the Goppion SpA company to respect the delicate conservation constraints of the work and, at the same time, to allow the Carton to be viewed without interference, the new display case consists of an imposing protective glass pane of about 24 square meters.

The exhibition of the Cartoon will be accompanied by a bilingual Italian/English publication(Electa editore) with texts by Alberto Rocca, Director of the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.

For all information you can visit the official website of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

Source: press release

Milan, restoration of Raphael's School of Athens cartoon ends. For the work now a dedicated exhibition
Milan, restoration of Raphael's School of Athens cartoon ends. For the work now a dedicated exhibition

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