Don’t usually blog twice in the same day, but I can’t resist this.
Is this a joke? A Dutch colleague has just told me of a new form of visitor participation. Currently there’s a Raphael exhibition at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Apparently the curators of the show aren’t sure wether this drawing is by Raphael or his studio, so they’re asking the public to vote on the issue. I’m told that there is a special “voting machine” (the mind boggles) set up in one of the galleries. All taking part “could win a trip for two to Raphael’s own country.” Here's the wording on the website.
In a special room, visitors can view an innovative introduction to Raphael's style and working methods. Which elements define his work? How do the experts view it, and how do you identify a real Raphael? Visitors can vote on the authenticity of a drawing: is it by Raphael or isn't it? One lucky participant will win an unforgettable art-history trip to Italy for two people.
Well, that would eliminate all the rows between the specialists- just leave Raphael connoisseurship issues to the public.
This exhibition is held in conjunction with the Albertina in Vienna. Yesterday morning I was studying Raphael drawings in that museum, so I’m pretty much in practice at the moment. I think I know a Raphael drawing when I see it- and this ain’t, not in a million years. Can you send me my tickets now? Get me on the next flight to Italy.