A Temporary Reunification

This exhibition in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London displays four of the ten tapestries designed by Raphael for the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. These are the original tapestries from the only series designed by Raphael of which examples survive, and are comparable with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling as masterpieces of High Renaissance art. The tapestries are displayed alongside the full-size designs for them – the famous Raphael cartoons. This is the first time that the designs and tapestries, made in the workplace of Pieter van Aelst in Brussels, have been displayed together – something Raphael himself never witnessed. The exhibition of the tapestries coincides with the historic visit to England and Scotland of Pope Benedict XVI.