We take a look at what critics have had to say about the National Gallery’s new Raphael exhibition…

Raphael  The Madonna and Child with the Infant Baptist (The Garvagh Madonna) 
Short title: The Garvagh Madonna 
about 1509-10  © The National Gallery, London

The Observer: ***** “Raphael, at the National Gallery, is a revelation. It could hardly be otherwise, in a sense, since this is the first exhibition outside Italy ever to encompass every aspect of his stupendous career.”

iNews: ***** “Presenting detailed preparatory sketches as well as finished works, and allowing us to chart Raphael’s development over his short but prolific career, this is a jewel box of a show, seducing with gem after gem.”

Ian Visits: “With loans from the Louvre, National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Prado Museum, Uffizi Museum and the Vatican Museum this is an unprecedented opportunity to see the breadth of Raphael’s skill, creativity, and ingenuity.”

The Guardian: ***** “For more than a century he has been out of fashion, seen as just too perfect to move us turbulent moderns. This great show is like falling in love again.”

Evening Standard: **** “this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see so much of Raphael’s work in one place. It may not be perfectly divine, but it is heavenly.”

Time Out: **** “The exhibition’s architectural models and 3D recreations of works too fragile and valuable to transport here are a bit of a letdown, but the big paintings and tapestries are impressive. The thing is, the art of this era wasn’t necessarily about beauty or the sublime, it was about finance and avarice. It was about how many florins’ worth of lapis blue or gold leaf your patrons could afford, how educated and tasteful and rich they wanted to prove they were. The big commissions here are a portrait of mercantile success, of the terrifying financial and political power of the Catholic church.”

Londonist: ***** “Most visitors will walk in knowing Raphael’s reputation as one of the greatest artists that ever lived; they will leave having seen incontrovertible proof of it. “

The Independent: **** “This blockbuster exhibition shows how the great Renaissance painter’s late works turned up the heat on his pallid early Madonnas”

Culture Whisper: ***** “An exhibition of Raphael’s paintings and drawings is always quite an extraordinary event for his works are extremely fragile and seldom travel. So you can’t quite believe your eyes when you walk across the rooms of the National Gallery.”

The exhibition is on display at the National Gallery until the 31st July 2022.