A prince's passion
Country Life UK|November 25, 2020
Michael Prodger is fascinated by a pioneering royal project devoted to the collecting and reproducing of the Renaissance Master’s works
Micheal Prodger
COMMUTER-BELT Surrey might seem an unlikely place to find a direct link to one of art’s greatest painters, to the Medici Pope Leo X and to the fabled tapestries he commissioned for the Sistine Chapel. However, The Lightbox, Woking’s neat gallery and museum, is currently holding an ambitious small exhibition that brings the High Renaissance—and high Victorianism—to this unprepossessing dormitory town.

‘Raphael: Prince Albert’s Passion’ tells the story of the Prince Consort’s enthusiasm for the artist and how he created the Raphael Collection at Windsor Castle—a compendium of 4,600 prints and photographs of every work thought at the time to be by or after Raphael. The collection is both an extraordinary scholarly resource and an act of homage by one prince to another, the ‘prince of painters’ who, more than Michelangelo and Leonardo, was, in the 19th century, held to be the exemplar of art’s greatest period.

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