Kent art historian co-curates exhibition of the year

Dr Ben Thomas, an art historian at the University, has co-curated an exhibition that has been named best of the year.

The award for Exhibition of the Year has been made by Apollo Magazine for an exhibition of drawings by the Italian Renaissance master Raphael at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. Dating back to 1992, the prestigious Apollo Awards celebrate major achievements in the art and museum worlds.

Dr Thomas, senior lecturer at the School of Arts, co-curated the exhibition, entitled Raphael: The Drawings, alongside Professor Catherine Whistler, Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean, which is part of the University of Oxford.

During its run at the Ashmolean the exhibition attracted 67,628 visitors and five-star reviews from the critics.

In the announcement for its Apollo Awards, the magazine states: ‘The no-nonsense directness of the Ashmolean’s title suggested from the outset that the exhibition’s focus would be on Raphael’s drawings, and it delivered on that through the sheer quality and variety of the 120 sheets on view’.

Research at Kent in art history and cognitive neuroscience helped inform the development of the exhibition, which aims to transform people’s understanding of Raphael through a focus on the ‘immediacy and expressiveness’ of his drawing.

The exhibition, which has now moved to The Albertina gallery in Vienna, where it opened on 28 September, has also been shortlisted for the 2017 Global Fine Art Award, with finalists  due to be announced in January 2018.