Apostles in Prussia

The Raphael Tapestries of the Bode-Museum

ed. by Alexandra Enzensberger

In 1515–16 Raphael created a cycle depicting the stories of the apostles Peter and Paul that was commissioned by Pope Leo X. His drawings served as the basis for the weaving of tapestries for the Sistine Chapel and later for numerous other tapestry series. In the 19th century, one series, produced around 1540, was purchased in London for the Berlin Museums where it was displayed in prominent spaces of the Museum Island until its loss in the Second World War.

The story of the Berlin Raphael tapestries is told from four perspectives. Ana Debenedetti outlines the history of the commissioning of the Raphael Cartoons and the associated specifications – spatial and artistic – that were part of Raphael's creative process. Petra Winter discusses the history of restoration of the Berlin Raphael Tapestries and links it with contemporary discourses about the "correct" treatment of artworks in museums. Elsa van Wezel reconstructs the first special exhibition of the Raphael Tapestries in the Königliches Museum (Royal Museum) in 1848 and compares Gustav Friedrich Waagen's concepts of art to other European painting Galleries of the time. Alexandra Enzensberger examines the changing display of the Berlin Raphael Tapestries: from the rotunda of the Königliches Museum (today Altes Museum) to the Kaiser Friedrich Museum (today Bode Museum), the loss of the objects in the Second World War and the reconstruction of the gallery space - the "Raphael Gallery" - as "Gobelin Gallery" on the occasion of the city's 750th anniversary in 1987 by the former GDR.

Sandstein Verlag, Dresden 2020

edited for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
140 pages, 81 images
ISBN 978-3-95498-524-1



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