One of Thirty-Four Original Raphael Paintings Coming to San Diego Raphael, The Prince of Painters

One of Thirty-Four Original Raphael Paintings Coming to San Diego Raphael, The Prince of Painters

SAN DIEGO, CA.- Raphael’s recently discovered Madonna of the Pinks will be exhibited for the first time in the United States at the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park.

To kick off the Timken’s 50th anniversary this painting comes on special loan from the National Gallery, London, which in turn is showcasing the Timken's Saint Bartholomew by Rembrandt in its exhibition Rembrandt: The Late Works.

The Exhibit of Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks represents an extraordinary opportunity for the Timken Museum, Balboa Park and San Diego. Praised as one of Raphael's most captivating depictions, the painting has never traveled outside England in the past 161 years. This is its first visit to the United States.  

The small devotional panel, which is based on an equally famous composition by Leonardo da Vinci, depicts the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child on her lap in a sunlit bedchamber.  It is an image imbued with great emotional intensity meant for contemplation, the owner would have cradled the composition in his or her hands. There followed more elaborate and perhaps even more sophisticated Virgin and Child paintings, but none matched the outburst of joy that illuminates The Madonna of the Pinks. It is said that The Madonna of the Pinks is to Raphael as the Mona Lisa is to Leonardo.

Tragically short-lived, Raphael was remarkably prolific. Approximately one hundred paintings are known by the artist who is widely considered as one of the most influential masters of the High Renaissance in Italy. Raphael painted the Madonna of the Pinks shortly before leaving Florence for Rome where he would come into contact with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and create his most ambitious works - the large religious frescos in the Vatican.

For most of the 20th century the picture hung unappreciated in a corridor at Alnwick Castle, England, the home of the 4th Duke of Northumberland, until it was examined more closely by the National Gallery's Nicholas Penny, Director.  An examination with infrared reflectography allowed a look beneath the painting image and revealed an underdrawing characteristic of the great master. Subsequent investigations have confirmed the picture’s status as an original work by Raphael.

In 2002, The Madonna of the Pinks was acquired by the National Gallery, London, who has generously loaned it to the Timken for its special presentation "Raphael: Prince of Painters", which runs from December 19, 2014 until April 26, 2015. 

Along with the exhibition the Timken Museum of Art will be hosting several lectures during the painting’s four-month stay; including one by renowned Dr. Ashok Roy, National Gallery Director, Collections and the National Gallery’s Chief Scientist who authenticated The Madonna of the Pinks.  Also speaking during the 4 month exhibit will Linda Wolk-Simon, an independant curator and specialist in Italian Renaissance art of Raphael and his followers.  Ms. Linda Wolk-Simon was formerly at the Morgan Library and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This special presentation was made possible by the generous support of The David C. Copley Foundation, The Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust, The Timken Foundation of Canton, Ohio, The City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture,  and The Friends of the Timken.


About The Timken Museum of Art

The Timken Museum of Art, located in the heart of San Diego’s Balboa Park, exhibits European old master paintings, 18th and 19th century American paintings and Russian icons. Admission is ALWAYS FREE. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  It is closed on Mondays, and holidays. More information can be found at or call (619) 239-5548.



CONTACT:    Camille Carlin | Timken Museum of Art | 858.337.5894