2020 is going to be an important year for art and culture. We will be celebrating anniversaries and inaugurating new spaces and unveiling new projects aimed at promoting new creativity and young talent as well as learning from our history and standing on the shoulders of giants. In Italy, in particular, we will be celebrating one of the most significant personalities in Renaissance paintings. If 2019 was Leonardo’s year, 2020 is going to be dedicated to Raphael, who died exactly 500 years ago, in 1520, aged 37. This year, thousands of tourists will be visiting the places in which he lived and created his age-defining paintings. A number of exhibitions are planned, and Urbino – the city of Raphael’s birth – has even been featured in this year’s New York Times’ list of must-visit destinations.
Raphael Santi, son of the painter Giovanni Santi, was born in Urbino in 1483. This year, the city will be paying tribute to his life and work through a series of events – the first of which has been inaugurated in the last months of 2019. In Urbino, the young Raphael had the chance to perfect his art well beyond his father’s limited accomplishments by studying the works of the many artists living at the court of the Montefeltro family, such as Perugino and Luca Signorelli. He later went on to become one of the most significant painters of the Italian High Renaissance.
Where to see Raphael’s work this year
There will be many exhibitions and events dedicated to Raphael all over Italy throughout the year – in Urbino, the celebrations have started in the last months of 2019. The one taking place at the Scuderie Papali al Quirinale, in Rome between March and June, is probably the most prestigious of them all, featuring works borrowed from Florence’s Uffizi, such as the world-famous Madonna of the Goldfinch. Milan is paying tribute to the genius from Urbino by exhibiting the sketch for The School of Athens – one of Raphael’s most famous frescoes, part of the complex now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. This is the largest preparatory sketch for a Renaissance fresco that made it through the ages.
Celebrating Raphael in his birthplace
If you want to pay tribute to Raphael’s genius in the very city of his birth, we recommend you visit Urbino this year. Visiting the Palazzo Ducale, you will roam the very halls in which he first developed a passion for the works of some of the masters of his time. Some of Raphael’s works are still exhibited year, alongside masterpieces by Piero Della Francesca and Titian. You will also be able to visit the house in which Raphael was born and his father’s workshop, where he apprenticed himself.
Adding a cultural element to your business travel
If you are visiting Italy on business this year, you might want to consider adding a cultural element to your journey. There are multiple reasons why events such as exhibitions and cultural celebrations should be on your radar when you plan a business trip. If you are planning a meeting with a potential business partner or a client, for instance, you could try ditching the meeting room and exploring the options offered by museums and galleries, treating your colleagues or collaborators to a guided tour. If you are travelling with your colleagues or employees, as part of a team-building or incentive package, scheduling a visit to and exhibition is an excellent way of making that experience even more unique. It will enrich and fascinate you and your team and it will provide a shared experience to remember. This is particularly true for events and exhibitions that, like the Raphael celebrations, only happen for a limited time and in a very precise area.