On the anniversary of the death of Raffaello (1520-2020), the Municipality of Florence and MUS.E, with the support of the National Committee for the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the death of Raffaello Sanzio and in collaboration with the Palais de Beaux-Arts de Lille, organize the exhibition Raphael and Florence, Edited by Valentina Zucchi e Sergio Risaliti.

The exhibition, to be held in the Sala d'Arme of Palazzo Vecchio from 31 October  and which provides for use in full anti-Covid safety, wants to enhance the Florentine period of the artist, or the years in which Raphael, already equipped with glory and honors, between the end of 1504 and the beginning of 1505, moved in the Tuscan capital and stayed there for a long time, until his transfer to Rome in 1508. To attract him, the fervent Florentine climate of the early sixteenth century, whose most brilliant episodes are attested by the colossal statue of David, just positioned in Piazza Signoria, and by the cartoon of Sant'Anna di Leonardo, but also from the wonderful works of Leonardo and Michelangelo for the hall of the Maggior Consiglio in the civic palace.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog published by Edifir to be released in November, edited by Valentina Zucchi and Sergio Risaliti, with contributions, among others, by Cristina Acidini and Vincenzo Farinella.


The exhibition Raphael and Florence will revolve around the Portrait of young woman in bust, a precious drawing today in the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, dating back to Raphael's Florentine years and emblematic of the intense dialogue held with the great artists he met in the city, first of all Leonardo.

An exceptional loan with which the Municipality of Florence wants to honor the genius of Raphael, recalling the artistic and cultural environment of the early sixteenth century, when Florence was the 'school of the world'.

Around the work, projected on the walls of the Sala d'Arme, a multimedia story will allow us to retrace the years that have profoundly affected the formation of the Urbino artist, introducing significant changes in his style. The immersive film is curated by Valentina Zucchi and ArtMediaStudio and illustrates the relational, political and social network, as well as artistic, woven by Raphael, telling the story and showing the masterpieces of that period, such as the Portraits of Agnolo Doni and Maddalena Strozzi and the Madonna del Cardellino, still preserved in Florence at the Uffizi Galleries.

They will join the initiative guided tours in the historic center, on the places related to the painter's stay, defined in agreement with the World Heritage Office of the civic administration, always in absolute safety: they will be held every Saturday and every Sunday at 15.00 pm, from Saturday 7 November until the end of December (reservations required on 055 2768224 or by email

Furthermore, thanks to the support of Unicoop Firenze, it will be possible to take advantage of a digital appointments dedicated to the artist and aimed at the general public, led by art historians and experts, with the aim of deepening individual aspects, works or themes of Raphael's Florentine period.

Raffaello arrived in Florence in years of great ferment for the city in order to complete his training and obtain important commissions. The intense dialogue had here with the artists of the time, including Fra Bartolomeo, Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, Baccio d'Agnolo, Andrea Sansovino, the Sangallo family, but above all with Leonardo and Michelangelo, paved the way for the introduction of important changes in his style . It will certainly affect the construction of the characters, the relationships between the figures, the representation of movement, as well as developing greater attention to atmospheric and chromatic values.

The contact with the Florentine environment also leads to the maturation of a firmer and more synthetic compositional structure that interpenetrates with the descriptive and tactile language acquired in the years of formation together with the compositional harmony and the luminous palette, reaching an extraordinary synthesis between image ideal and real image. Giorgio Vasari also recognized this, admitting: "... nor did I keep silent that he knew, after he was in Florence, that he varied and embellished his manner so much, through having seen many things and by the hand of excellent masters, that she had only do some things with the first one [...] "(Giorgio Vasari)

"Raphael, as Vasari tells us, came to Florence to train and he was greatly influenced by being alongside masters like Leonardo and Michelangelo and many others, that, when he left, his painting was completely transformed - recalls the mayor Dario Nardella -. This exhibition, between reality and multimedia, reminds us precisely of the origins and transformations of Raphael's art and of the great role of our city in its formation. Florence, at the end of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of his death, explores this side of the figure of the artist and gives us a highly evocative and suggestive exhibition, made unique by the loan from France of a drawing dating back to the Florentine years ".

“An exhibition that is already an event - underlines the councilor for culture Thomas Sacchi - because thinking and creating culture in a moment of strong criticality for the whole world is truly an exceptional effort. But it seemed right not to neglect a formidable artist who drew inspiration and was able to refine his style in our city. Palazzo Vecchio, formerly a civic house at the time, therefore returns to welcome it and remember its Florentine years, in a mix of digital and real that will be able to attract and intrigue new audiences ”.

“The myth of Raphael soon transcended history - he declares Valentina Zucchi, curator of the project and responsible for cultural mediation of MUS.E - However, there is no doubt that her works have given anyone who has observed them, for five centuries, the high and pure vertigo of the encounter with art. The homage that the city of Florence dedicates to Raphael on the occasion of the five hundredth anniversary of his death, referring in particular to the years in which the artist settles in the city, is a valuable opportunity not only to taste the exquisite finesse of his drawings and the limpid quality of his paintings, but also to benefit, in this dark period, from the deepest and most authentic refreshment that culture can offer to each of us. As MUS.E we are once again pleased and honored to support the municipal administration in this task. "

“In such a dramatic and dark moment, Raphael's star shines - he says Sergio Recovered, director of the Museo Novecento and co-curator of the exhibition -. The exhibition project that we are inaugurating today adds a cameo of precious value to the many events dedicated to the "angelic butterfly", the artist who appeared as a divine being at his time. The drawing of a young girl, turned by three quarters, on an exceptional loan from the Lille Museum, is an absolute that shines with a special light in the Arms Room and contrasts feminine grace and dignity with the cacophonous clamor of our time, wounded by atrocious facts that add anguish to despair over an unprecedented health and economic crisis. The grace and beauty of this 'diamond' seem to reassure us about the existence of a better world, of perfect harmony, of which Raphael's art is a complete prefiguration.

In some cases the artistic event is very necessary, even if it is ephemeral. We offer the city and Italy a small immense masterpiece of Raphaelesque graphics and a multimedia didactic project that illustrates Raphael's youth in a monumental tone during the period he spent in Florence, when the artist left Siena in 1504, where he was busy with Pinturicchio, to reach Piazza Signoria. Here Michelangelo's David was already installed and the world of that time had changed speed. Arriving in the city, Raphael experienced a kind of salutary shock and underwent an initiation into fifteenth-century public art, that of Donatello and Verrocchio, as well as that of Luca Della Robbia's devotional art, among others. Neo-Platonic humanism became familiar to him, as did the philosophy of love and light according to the followers of Ficino and Plotinus.

It was, for Perugino's pupil, a decisive turning point. In Florence the foundations were laid for the more mature and immeasurable art of Sanzio, the one that would be manifested in Rome. And here, at the “school of the world” he was able to do his homework on Leonardo's Battle of Anghiari and his shocking creations. Here he admired the great cartoon of the Battle of Cascina and perfectly assimilated the relationship between Buonarroti's modern art and the ancient world, of which Raphael himself revived the moral and aesthetic greatness in the more mature Renaissance. It is now worth remembering the studies carried out in recent decades by illustrious critics and art historians, including Mina Gregori, who was the architect, in 1984, of the great exhibition "Raffaello a Firenze", at Palazzo Pitti, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 500 years of birth. An event that still serves today as a point of reference as well as a turning point for the demythologized knowledge of the artist ".