Many exhibitions have been held that celebrate Renaissance art in Florence and Venice, but rarely has the period of the 16th century in Rome been so treated. Outside of Rome itself, exhibitions on any aspect of this subject are especially rare, if not unprecedented in a comprehensive survey like this, despite its centrality to the history of art. Some of the most celebrated names in art history, including Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, El Greco, Salviati, Vasari and Barocci practiced in Rome during this time and are strongly represented in this show, concluding with no less an innovator than Annibale Carracci.
The exhibition examines Renaissance Rome through a careful selection of paintings and drawings from a particularly ambitious and dramatic period of cultural history, against the backdrop of the history of the Popes. The show is arranged chronologically, pope by pope, from Julius II to Clement VIII, but this linear approach reveals, paradoxically, the remarkable diversity and affluent richness of work generated by a unique style of artistic patronage.
From Raphael to Carracci: The Art of Papal Rome thus sets out to explore and reveal the innovations in the art of giants like Raphael, and Michelangelo, but also their impact on a great many other sophisticated, highly intriguing artists leading up to Annibale Carracci—a master of equal genius to anyone of the age. This period is often referred to as the High Renaissance, Mannerism and early Baroque, but by including work from all three points of reference this exhibition allows us to enjoy these artists on their own merits, without preconceptions. One of its other glories will be to allow the public to discover a great number of new artists with styles of supreme originality and ambition.