Raffaello Sanzio used Fabriano paper - Research Activities

The commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the death of Raffaello Sanzio (1520-2020) has been the main feature in the cultural production the world throughout this present year. All Europe has paid tribute to the ‘god‘ from Urbino and to the Renaissance period through several initiatives and Fondazione Fedrigoni Fabriano too has brought its contribution. Starting from the monumental work commenced in 2017 which entailed the digitilisation of  Corpus Chartarum Fabriano and experimental research activities dedicated to the collection of watermarks of  Augusto Zonghi, Fondazione Fedrigoni Fabriano has pioneered a research study on Raphael which engages in the recognition of Raphael’s watermarked  paper sheets and analysis of the materials used by the artist: an unprecedented autoptic study made on the drawings and sketches of the artist from Urbino.

Fascinating and unedited results have in no time emerged concerning the quality of the paper used by the genius of the Renaissance period. Raphael indeed used paper from Fabriano.  This has been proven by the recurrence of watermarks recognised as coming from the paper-mill of the city of Giano (Janus River). The response from the Marche of Raphael through the historic watermarks present in the collection of historic watermarks from Fabriano compiled by Prof. Augusto Zonghi in 1884, owned by Fondazione Fedrigoni Fabriano,  has facilitated in proving how the paper from Fabriano had achieved fame and prestige between  XV and XVI century, to the extent it was to be used by well -loved artists belonging to the Papal courts, above all, Michelangelo and Raphael.

The research study on Raphael paves the way to a new wave of activities related to watermark studies which, serving History of Art can contribute towards a better critical assessment of the master’s work, towards a recognition of his heterographic and autographic production as well as facilitating the definition of an internal chronology of the sheets of paper under study, which owing to their auxiliary nature have not as yet been substantially analysed.

The Foundation truly hopes that the propitious moment commencing from the watermarks of Raphael themselves, new and more impacting results will follow in the world of Arts and Science.