There is no possibility that the Magdalene is by Raphael

There is no possibility that the Magdalene is by Raphael
There is no possibility that the Magdalene is by Raphael

In a conference in Pergola, the Urbino’s authorship of a painting preserved in a foreign collection was put forward

The face of the «Magdalene» for which a group of scholars have put forward the name of Raphael. Photo © Ansa

The Angel dal Foco Theatre Of Pergola hosted the conference by title «Ideal Beauty-The Vision of Perfection by Raffaello Sanzio” with mother speakers Maria Cecilia Visentinpontifical professor specialized in religious iconography, Annalisa Di Mariaauthor of the volume The Mona Lisa and its meaning. Leonardo da Vinci and the Neoplatonic school (Nfc Editions, 2019), Andrea da Montefeltromolecular biologist, researcher and sculptor, Jean-Charles Pomerol, professor emeritus of the Sorbonne Computer Science Laboratory; during the evening it was announced that a painting depicting the «Magdalene» belonging to a private foreign collection (poplar panel, 46×34 cm, dated 1504), would be attributable to the hand of Raphael and would have had as its model Chiara Fancellithe wife of Perugino, Raphael’s master. The authorship of the artist from Urbino would therefore be attributable, rather than to a single expert, to “a pool of scholars” as reported by Ansa.

The conference was organized in collaboration with the Municipality of Pergola and Pro loco, with the patronage of, among others, the Marche Regional Council, the University of Urbino, the Province of Pesaro and Urbino, Confcommercio Pesaro and Urbino, Unpli, Enit, Pesaro Capital of Culture 2024.

The news was immediately picked up by Ansa and many newspapers, triggering a heated debate. The attribution surprised everyone also because it was released before the publication of a scientific study entitled «Raphael’s Magdalene or when the pupil surpasses the Master», announced as soon to be published in the journal «Open Science» (www.openscience .fr/Art-and-Science).

He was the first to publicly reject it Vittorio Sgarbi who bluntly expressed himself as follows: «There is no possibility that the painting advertised as Raphael, and announced in Pergola, an affectionate city, is by the master from Urbino. It is only a journalistic scoop since it is based on the knowledge of a few as it is a work in a private collection, with the owner’s legitimate aspiration to own a Raphael. The idea of ​​a “Magdalene” with the appearance of Perugino’s wife is already bizarre, as is the legitimate propensity of some scholars to comment only on great names: Raphael, Leonardo, Botticelli. Perugino is enough and moving forward». According to Sgarbi it would be «a version, perhaps autograph, of a prototype by Perugino preserved in Palazzo Pitti, of which another version is known in the Galleria Borghese». Even Luigi Bravi, president of the Raffaello Urbino Academy, immediately rejected the attribution.

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