April 8: Belinda Rathbone lecture: “The Boston Raphael”

  • Wednesday, April 8, 7 pm: Belinda Rathbone, author of “The Boston Raphael”

On the eve of its centennial celebrations in December, 1969, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts announced the acquisition of an unknown and uncatalogued painting attributed to Raphael. Boston’s coup made headlines around the world. Soon afterward, an Italian art sleuth began investigating the details of the painting’s export from Italy, challenging the museum’s right to ownership. Simultaneously, experts on both sides of the Atlantic lined up to debate its very authenticity. While these contests played themselves out on the international stage, the crisis deepened within the museum as its charismatic director, Perry T. Rathbone, faced the most challenging crossroads of his thirty-year career. The Boston Raphael was a media sensation in its time, but the full story of the forces that converged on the museum and how they intersected with the challenges of the Sixties is now revealed in full detail by the director’s daughter.