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Major Raphael Exhibition in Italy to Reopen, Extend Run

Αssociated press

A view of the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, Monday, May 18, 2020 as museums reopen with Italy slowly lifting sanitary restrictions after a two-month coronavirus lockdown. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP)

ROME — Rome’s blockbuster exhibition of masterpieces by Renaissance artist Raphael will reopen to the public on the day it had been due to close.

Only three days after it had opened in early March, the exhibition at the Scuderie was forced to hastily lock its doors as part of pandemic containment measures ordered by the Italian government.

Organizers said on Monday that art lovers can see the works, including 120 paintings, drawings and sketches by Raphael, starting on June. 2. That day, a national holiday, was supposed to be the final date of the run.

Instead, lenders, including the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, which has the world’s largest collections of Raphael works, agreed to let their pieces stay until Aug. 30, allowing for a significant extension of the show.

Under gradual easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures, Italians can resume traveling between regions on June 3. With tourism a key revenue-maker, Italy hopes other countries will allow their citizens to soon travel for pleasure. Italy is where Europe’s coronavirus began, and it is one of the world’s most stricken countries.

The Raphael exhibit, marking the 500th anniversary of his death as a young man from a fever, will stay open until late at night to reduce crowding risks.