Raphael died on April 6, 1520, and the whole of Europe mourned the loss of God's gift to humankind. No other painter—we read in the letters that flooded Rome after the news broke—was as divine, as inspired, and as graceful as Raphael. The funeral cost as much as a Renaissance palace and he was buried in the Pantheon, the temple of all gods, an honor no other mortal has ever been granted. Still today, 1520 marks a point of no return in art historical narratives, the passage from the extraordinary inventions of the High Renaissance to the precious repetition of forms that goes under the name of Mannerism. Raphael's death turned the artistic lights of Rome off; his pupils fled the papal city to work in other European courts. The geography of art has never been the same.
To commemorate the 500th anniversary of this artistic earthquake, the Department of Art and Art History has organized Raphael Transfigured: Three Lectures on the Occasion of the 500th Anniversary of the Great Artist's Death. The painter Enrique Martinez Celaya (Monday, April 6) and the writers Rachel Cusk and Colm Toibin (Wednesday, May 20) will share what Raphael has meant for them and reflect on the legacy of his work for contemporary culture at large.
Join us on Tuesday, April 14, for "The Impersonator: The Captive Ego of Raphael," a lecture by Rachel Cusk. More details to come.
Rachel Cusk is the author of ten novels and four works of nonfiction, which have won and been shortlisted for numerous prizes. In 2015, Cusk’s version of Medea was staged at the Almeida Theatre.
Image: Raphael, 1498-1520
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