Raphael: The Drawings

Raphael, A drawing of a woman with children, c.1512
Raphael, A drawing of a woman with children, c.1512

Charles Hope reviews Raphael: The Drawings at The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, on view through September 3, 2017.

Hope writes: "One of the great strengths of the exhibition is the way it illustrates Raphael’s increasing mastery of and obvious pleasure in the medium of drawing during his years in Rome. This comes across most strongly in his works in red and black chalk, which have survived much better than those in the more fragile medium of metalpoint and those in pen ... There is a particularly marvellous black chalk drawing of a woman seen from the back, holding small children, done with apparent spontaneity and extraordinary control, in which her movement, the modelling of her shoulder and the contrasting texture of her dress are evoked with complete authority and extreme economy."