In 1901, J. Pierpont Morgan acquired the last major altarpiece by Raphael still in private hands. Painted by the young artist for a convent in Perugia, the work was dismantled in 1663 and pieces were subsequently owned by Queen Christina of Sweden, the Colonna family in Rome, and the King of Naples and the Two Sicilies. To obtain his prize, Morgan paid the phenomenal sum of two million francs. News of the banker's acquisition caused a sensation in the press and the picture was judged to be the most important ever to cross the Atlantic. Since 1916 it has been one of the treasures of the Metropolitan Museum. This exhibition reunites the two main panels with all the scenes from its predella. A select group of drawings and paintings by Raphael produced close in time to the Colonna Altarpiece, including a preparatory study for the Metropolitan's predella panel, are also included.
The exhibition is made possible by the Homeland Foundation, Inc.
Additional support is provided by the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund.
The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.