Kent art historian co-curates ‘best exhibition of year so far’

Dr Ben Thomas, an art historian at the University, has co-curated an exhibition described as the ‘best of the year so far’.

The exhibition of drawings by the Italian Renaissance master Raphael, which brings together works from a number of major international collections, has just moved from Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum to open in Austria.

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 drew record crowds and five-star reviews from the critics. These included the Guardian Guide, which described it as ‘the best exhibition of the year so far’, and the Financial Times, which described it as ‘a game-changing presentation of graphic art’ that ‘alters our conception of its creator’.

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 has now moved to the Albertina gallery in Vienna, where it opens on 28 September.