Raphael: The Drawings Exhibition Catalogue


Whether poet, philosopher, muse, apostle, saint or sibyl - Raphael captured figures in fascinating and significant ways throughout his life. This selection of drawings demonstrates how Raphael created a specific mode of visual invention and persuasive communication through drawing.

Exploring Raphael’s creativity in over a hundred and twenty drawings ranging across his career, this book coincides with an ambitious Ashmolean exhibition in collaboration with the Albertina, Vienna.

Based on new research, it argues for a fresh understanding of Raphael through a focus on the visual and material eloquence of his drawings. This innovative approach emphasises the inherent value of each sheet as a singular graphic work, yet also views the drawings as artefacts of a rhetorically alert and sophisticated culture. The selection of works from international collection highlights the intensity and expressiveness of Raphael’s drawings, which reveal processes of thinking, experimenting, recalling from memory, and revising.

Raphael: The Drawings emphasises the layered nature of drawing and its gestural qualities, as Raphael’s chosen medium – grainy chalk, pen, stylus or metalpoint – influenced his creative momentum and his emerging intentions. The book reveals how Raphael, through drawing, forged a compelling and persuasive mode of communication, orchestrating ambitious narratives with inventive force and ceaselessly pursuing eloquent form.

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256 pages, including full colour reproductions of works.
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