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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Major Raphael exhibition unveiled
Madonna of the Pinks
Madonna of the Pinks was bought by the gallery for 22m in February
The National Gallery is to display 100 paintings and drawings by Raphael together for the first time, including The Madonna of the Pinks.

The London exhibition, which opens on 20 October, will trace the Italian painter's artistic development.

It is the first time such a comprehensive exhibition of Raphael's work has been attempted outside Italy.

The Madonna of the Pinks was acquired by the gallery for 22m of Heritage Lottery funds and public contributions.

'Overdue'

Exhibition curator Carol Plazzotta said: "A monographic Raphael show, particularly one devoted to the transition from the artist's fresh early style to the assured classicism of his Roman maturity, is long overdue in this country.

"Its aim is to reintroduce the public to an extraordinarily versatile artist, whose facility and unparalleled grasp of design revolutionised the art of painting."

Many of the loaned paintings have never been seen in Britain, while others return for the first time since being sold abroad in the 19th Century.

Raphael's Saint Michael
Raphael's Saint Michael, painted in 1503-1504, will also be displayed
Among them are the newly-cleaned Alba Madonna from Washington's National Gallery of Art, the Conestabile Madonna from the Hermitage, St Petersburg, and the Louvre's Saint George and Saint Michael.

Raphael - From Urbino to Rome will examine his techniques as a draughtsman and designer, as well as the meaning and context of his work.

The Madonna of the Pinks, painted in Florence in about 1507-8, was previously owned by the Duke of Northumberland, but had been on loan to the gallery since 1992.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded 11.5m to the National Gallery in July 2003 to help its bid to keep the painting in Britain.


SEE ALSO:
Gallery to keep Raphael's Madonna
13 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
Gallery wins grant for Raphael
23 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Saving art for the nation explained
23 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Bitter row over Raphael sale
13 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
Duke defends masterpiece sale
01 Nov 02  |  England


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