Cheryl Snay | March 21, 2017
March 13, 2017 – The Snite Museum and the Medieval Institute partner to bring Rev. Dr. Alberto Rocca, the director of the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan, to the University of Notre Dame April 9–11 for a series of public and academic lectures and student visits.
With degrees in theology and early modern history from the University of Milan, Rocca has served as the director of the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana since 2014. He co-organized the inspirational exhibition combining science and art Da Vinci Shaping the Future, which travelled to Singapore in 2014–2015, and another exhibition focusing on the painting St. Jerome by Caravaggio. He is also the co-author of a new guide to the Gallery.
On Sunday, April 9, at the Snite Museum, Rocca will deliver a public lecture, “Genesis, Events, and Incidents of Raphael’s Preparatory Cartoon of the School of Athens,” featuring the historic conservation treatment this drawing is currently undergoing. Remarkable for its sheer size—it measures 26 x 9 feet—and age, Raphael’s drawing for one of the western world’s most recognized masterpieces was made around 1508 to transfer the design of to the wall.
Very few of these drawings, called cartoons, survive because of the destructive nature of the transfer process. Raphael’s drawing, now housed in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, is one of them. The scientific study it is undergoing will yield unique insights into Raphael’s creative process. Rocca will give an overview of the history of the drawing, which was looted by Napoleon and taken to France. He will follow that with an analysis of its current condition and earlier restorations, and the painstaking work by conservators necessary to preserve it for the future.