Raphael blockbuster closed after just three days due to the Coronavirus emergency.
When will Rome reopen the Raphael exhibition and will it be extended beyond its scheduled end date of 3 June?
Impossible to tell, due to the Covid-19 crisis, but these are the million-dollar questions in Italy's culture world right now.
"The wish is that the doors can be reopened as soon as possible and that from that Renaissance spirit that made Raphael's art unparalleled, energy can be drawn for a restart of Italy and Europe".
This hope was expressed by none other than the president of Italy himself, Sergio Mattarella, on 6 April, the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael.
The exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale closed just three days after opening on 5 March, due to the Coronavirus.
The 6,000 lucky people who gained entry to the world's greatest Raphael show admired the masterpieces on display while maintaining as much distance as possible from other visitors.
So when will it reopen?
"The hope is that this will happen as soon as possible but it is premature to start with requests for an extension to the lenders" - Mario De Simoni, president of Ales which organised the event, told La Repubblica newspaper - "However, we experienced a feeling of solidarity on the part of all national and international institutions towards the Scuderie del Quirinale."
Several years in the planning, the Raphael exhibition is a one-in-a-lifetime event and there were no plans for it to travel anywhere after Rome.
Also in Rome's favour is the fact that the precious drawings were returned to storage in the dark, after just three days, and the lack of international air travel.As pointed out by La Repubblica, museums all over the world know that an exhibition of this magnitude cannot last just three days.
That is the hope anyway.
Image: Raffaello. Ritratto di Baldassare Castiglione. Portrait of Baldassarre Castiglione 1513. olio su tela / oil on canvas. Parigi, musée du Louvre, dèpartement des Peintures © Musée du Louvre, Dist. RMN – Grand Palais / Angèle Dequier.
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Will Rome extend the Raphael exhibition?
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