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Celebrating Raphael’s Tapestries and Cartoons
Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums present new exhibit at V&A Museum in London.

raphael cartoon
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, painted by Raphael. Photo © Vatican Museums

September 14, 2010. London, England. This past weekend, the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, a Vatican office directed by Legionary Father Mark Haydu, LC, hosted a weekend of events in London to celebrate the opening of a special artistic exhibition in preparation for the Holy Father’s upcoming visit to the UK.

The Vatican Museums collaborated with London’s V&A Museum to bring together—for the very first time—the Raphael Cartoons and Tapestries, a spectacle that the artist himself never witnessed.

About the Cartoons and Tapestries

The Raphael Cartoons, painted by Raphael and his assistants, are full-scale designs for tapestries that were meant to cover the lower walls of the Sistine Chapel. Commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515, they depict the Acts of St Peter and St Paul.

Between 1516 and 1521, the compositions were woven into tapestries at the workshop of Pieter van Aelst in Brussels, the main centre for tapestry production in Europe. In 1623 the cartoons were brought to England by the Prince of Wales, later Charles I, and have been on loan from the Royal Collection to the V&A since 1865.
Patrons Events
To commemorate the Grand Opening of this special exhibition, a transatlantic mix of Patrons gathered in London, where a welcome reception kicked off the events. The following morning, they gathered at Westminster Cathedral for Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols. Afterwards, the Patrons received a private tour of the Cathedral and its crypt.
Later Sunday evening, a
group VA
A group of the Patrons pose with the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and with Fr Mark Haydu, LC (second from right).
cocktail was held at the private former home of Sir Thomas Moore, which is now called Crosby Hall, a grand location with spectacular gardens and ceilings, and several tapestries adorning the walls. In the Great Room of Crosby Hall, the Curator of the Byzantine, Medieval & Renaissance Departments of the Vatican Museums, Dr. Arnold Nesselrath, gave an insightful talk on the Raphael Tapestries. The small guest list included four members of the British Parliament and former Prime Minister and his wife, Tony and Cherie Blair.
The morning of the Grand Opening began at the National Gallery. Before the museum was open to the public, the leading curators and art historians from the museum greeted the Patrons and took them on tours in small groups, where they had the chance to hear the history of the piece directly from the person who oversees the work’s care.
The crown jewel of the weekend was the Grand Opening of the Raphael Tapestry Exhibition at the V&A. The museum, illuminated in bold colors, was like a work of art in itself, and people gathered from around the globe for the inauguration. After a few short speeches and a brief musical interlude by some members of the National Choir, the exhibition was officially unveiled.
For those who would like to visit the exhibit, entrance is FREE, thanks to the generosity of one of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums. The exhibit will be on display from September 8 to October 17.

For more information, go to

Let us also keep the Holy Father´s upcoming visit to the UK in our prayers.



Related links web site
New Gate Tours
Institute for the Psychological Sciences
Magdala Center
Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College

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