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Past Exhibitions

Raphael's Legacy: Italian Design in the 16th Century

12 February - 1 June 2015


Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael was one of the most celebrated and influential artists. Despite his early death in 1520, at the age of only 37, his pupils and followers continued to develop their master’s tradition – the two best known are probably Giulio Romano and Marcantonio Raimondi. Their designs for prints, silver and gold vessels, paintings and tapestries dominated the artistic language of the time. This exhibition gave a glimpse into that splendour. 






Up Close and Personal - A Portrait of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

19 March - 31 May 2015


One of the most powerful men in England during the reign of Henry VIII, and yet there are hardly any contemporary portraits of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1473-1530). The most frequently used likeness was painted posthumously and is housed in Christ Church Hall. For the first time, it was taken down from the heights in which it usually hangs, and visitors got close to it and looked Thomas Wolsey in the eye. Wolsey's original cardinal's hat was also on display.








Mounts, Mats & Marks: How collectors took ownership of their drawings

12 September 2014 - 2 February 2015


This small display answered some often-asked questions by our visitors about inscriptions, numbers, stamps and borders on drawings.

Goddesses: Designing Female Beauty in the Renaissance and Baroque

12 September - 2 February 2015


How does one depict Venus, the goddess of love? What does Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, look like or Diana, goddess of the hunt? These are questions which artists had to solve in order to draw and paint these mythological figures. The drawings in this exhibition showed some of their 'solutions'.

Sean Scully Encounters: A New Master among Old Masters

30 May - 31 August 2014

Sean Scully, Falling Dark, 2005

Christ Church Picture Gallery was thrilled to announce an exhibition of works by the internationally celebrated artist Sean Scully. The juxtaposition of paintings by this major contemporary master with some of the indisputable masterpieces of the 16th century, like Annibale Carracci’s Butcher’s Shop and Jacopo Bassano’s Flagellation, promised an unforgettable artistic encounter.

Related News

The Oxford Times reviewed our Sean Scully exhibition, calling it a 'bold show for Christ Church' and 'curatorship of the first order.' Read the full review here:

ArtLyst reviewed Sean Scully Encounters, noting 'the artist's work shares a timeless concern with colour reflected in the relationships formed between his painting and that of the masters on display.' Read the full review at:

The Financial Times interviewed Sean Scully in conjunction with Kind of Red, his exhibition at Timothy Taylor Gallery in London. Read the full interview at:

Port Magazine recently interviewed Sean Scully about his life and work. Read the full article at

In addition to his Christ Church and London exhibitions, Sean Scully is also recently showed Doric, a cycle of large works produced between 2008 and 2014, at Galerie Lelong in Paris.

Sean Scully's painting 'Doric Grey' was on view at the Royal Academy’s 244th Summer Exhibition, and was nominated for the prestigious £25,000 Charles Wollaston Award.


Inferno – Purgatory – Paradise: Geoff MacEwan interprets Dante’s Divine Comedy

12 March - 12 May 2014


Dante’s Divine Comedy has inspired artists for centuries; among them the British artist and print-maker Geoff MacEwan, whose abstract visual interpretation of the text invites us to look and read again. The exhibition coincided with the Oxford Times Literary Festival.

Drawing in Siena – from Sodoma to Salimbeni: Ten rarely seen drawings from the Christ Church collection

5 February - 26 May 2014


Renaissance drawing and design is mainly associated with Florence and has dominated Tuscan art despite the importance of other artistic centres in Tuscany. This display of ten drawings from Siena showed that Sienese artists could measure up to their great rivals.

The Florentine Innocenti: Vincenzo Borghini and the Art Scene in Florence

23 October - 24 February 2014


The exhibition showcases thirty-three drawings by Florentine artists with close links to Vincenzo Borghini.




Beauty, Grace and Power: The horse in drawings of the Renaissance and Baroque

2 October - 23 December 2013


No other animal has inspired the creative mind of man as much as the horse. Evidence of this can be found in the artistic output of the numerous civilisations and cultures in which it has appeared since prehistoric times. Stone Age cave drawings, Iron Age hill figures, Assyrian reliefs, Greek bronzes, and Chinese terracotta statues contribute visually to our understanding of the relationship between man and horse.




Temptations to Devotion: Creating the Italian altarpiece in the Renaissance and Baroque

15 June - 14 October 2013


Old Master drawings from the Christ Church collection, exploring the power of the image for religious purposes.



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