Seminar: The Young Raphael and Full-Scale Design: Questions Around the Blending of Workshop Cultures


Tuesday, November 28, 2023, 6:00pm to 7:30pm


I Tatti
Image for Carmen Bambach's Thursday Seminar

Speaker: Carmen Bambach (I Tatti / The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

My talk (somewhat reworked now) was presented at an international conference, “Perugino and Young Raphael: Diagnostic Investigations and Art-Historical Studies,” Accademia Nazionale di Lincei, Rome, 26-27 October 2023. My subject relates research for the exhibition on Raphael that I am organizing for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (23 March – 28 June 2026). The Met’s exhibition will be the first comprehensive exhibition on Raphael in the United States. 

My research for The Met’s show has prompted me to think hard about the larger context of the young Raphael’s working practices as a draftsman and painter, in the years up to 1508, which were marked by periods of transition in his professional career. In my view, a viable way of looking at Raphael’s career during this early period of transitions is to consider that his practices blended and adapted different workshop cultures. There were the workshop cultures of Raphael’s Umbro-Marchigian training and there were also the new Florentine workshop cultures that Raphael encountered in 1504 on his arrival in Florence. In thinking more broadly in terms of “workshop cultures,” rather than ascribing practices entirely to individuals, or dwelling too much on notions of “progress,” one can probably contextualize Raphael’s early practices with greater subtlety. Since this subject is much larger than a short talk, I shall make my case by looking at this blending of workshop cultures in Raphael’s early methods of full-scale design practices, in relationship to Perugino.


Carmen C. Bambach is Marica F. and Jan T. Vilcek Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received the Inaugural Vilcek Foundation Prize for Excellence for her contribution to U. S. society and culture as an immigrant (April 4, 2019), a Mongan Prize from Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (June 14, 2022), has organized many exhibitions at The Met, and has published numerous books and articles on Italian art. Her award-winning books include Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered, Yale University Press, July 2019, 4 vols.; Michelangelo Divine Draftsman and Designer (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017); and Drawing and Painting in the Italian Renaissance Workshop: Theory and Practice, 1300-1600 (Cambridge University Press, 1999).

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