Coming Soon

Close Up

Raphael & the Pope's Librarian

October 31, 2019 - January 30, 2020
Fenway Gallery

Nearly five centuries after his death, Raphael’s fame remains undiminished. In 1898, Isabella Stewart Gardner brought the first Raphael to America, a portrait of the pope’s librarian Tommaso Inghirami. Celebrated by Erasmus as “the Cicero of our era,” Inghirami was a high Renaissance celebrity esteemed for his profound erudition, theatrical abilities, and powerful friends, including Raphael himself.

Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the painter’s death in 1520, this exhibition brings together for the first time a painting of an episode from Inghirami’s life (Musei Vaticani, Vatican City) with the Gardner’s own portrait, as well as a special selection of sculpture, drawings and archival materials to tell the fascinating story of the man with the red cap and the collector who brought him to America.

Raphael (Italian, 1483-1520), Tommaso Inghirami, about 1510

Raphael (Italian, 1483-1520), Tommaso Inghirami, about 1510

Cover of the exhibition catalog for Close Up: Raphael & the Pope's Librarian

Exhibition Catalog

Published in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death, this engrossing book accompanies this exhibition. Read about this iconic painting, and Raphael's work, which writer Henry James called "semi-sacred."


Photo at top: Raphael (Italian, 1483-1520), Tommaso Inghirami, about 1510

Exhibition-Related Programming

The Close Up exhibition series has been generously sponsored by Fredericka and Howard Stevenson.

The Museum also receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.