The Secret Treasure of Raphael

The Secret Treasure of Raphael
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2020 is the year in which the 500th anniversary of the death of Raffaello Sanzio, the artist from Urbino, is commemorated, one of the Italian Renaissance’s greatest artists. Perhaps only very few know that Milan hosts a treasure that is unique in all the world. It was 1508 when Raphael came to Rome, called upon to create frescoes in the private apartments in the Vatican of Pope Julius II, just a few metres from the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo was working at the time. In the Stanza della Segnatura, Raphael painted The Athen’s School, which depicts famed philosophers and mathematicians of the ancient world, from Plato to Aristotle, intently speaking together. To create the celebrated painting, Raphael created a 1:1 scale drawing on paper, hardly realising that his masterpiece would cross the confines of the centuries. Already at the start of the 1600s, the sketch of The Athen’s School was sought after by Cardinal Federico Borromeo who was first able to have the work on loan and then was able to buy it for a large sum of money, about the equivalent of 600 liras at the time. At the end of the XVIII Century, the sketch was taken by Napoleon who brought it to the Louvre in Paris where it was restored. In 1815, after Waterloo, thanks to the efforts of another famous artist - Antonio Canova - the original sketch of The Athen’s School returned to Italy and became part of the collection of the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana of Milan.
Anna Bianchi - © 2020 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Milano
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