Look Closely: The Cowper Madonna

THU, FEB 19, 2015 (00:00)

Painted at the moment when Raphael made the transition from Urbino to Florence, The Small Cowper Madonna, one of the greatest Renaissance paintings in America, stands at the beginning of the highly influential Madonnas which secured Raphael's reputation. The Worcester Art Museum displayed the Cowper Madonna with their own Northbrook Madonna, a work that came into the museum's collection in 1940 with an attribution to Raphael that has long been discarded, but without clear consensus on what relationship the work bears to Raphael and his studio. The two-painting installation also addresses the underdrawing of the two pictures, and explores Raphael's masterful interpretation and the spread of his early style among followers in Central Italy.

Pictured: Raphael, Italian, 1483-1520 The Small Cowper Madonna (detail) about 1505, oil on wood Widener Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1942.9.57

+ BIO: Linda Wolk-Simon

Before becoming director of the Bellarmine Museum, Linda Wolk-Simon, Ph.D., served in many roles at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where, from 1986 to 2011 she served in many posts, including curator, Department of Drawings and Prints. Prior to that she was the assistant curator of the Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan, a diverse collection of paintings, sculpture, textiles, glass, ceramics and old master drawings. While at The Met, she organized a highly attended Raphael exhibition and was co-curator of the well-received Art and Love in Renaissance Italy.

Dr. Wolk-Simon specializes in European art of the 15th-19th century with a concentration on the Italian Renaissance. She was also an associate editor and reviews editor of the quarterly scholarly journal Master Drawings for several years. Most recently, she spent two years as the Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Department Head at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, where she organized a critically acclaimed exhibition on Degas, and was responsible for implementing and directing the Morgan Drawing Institute, a research center devoted to fostering scholarship in the field of old master and modern drawings.

Partner
Worcester Art Museum