Catherine Whistler of the Ashmolean Museum and Kent’s Ben Thomas have been awarded a Leverhulme research project grant for £135265 over the next two years. It will support a series of research workshops and events taking an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Raphael’s drawings. This research will also contribute towards an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, co-curated by Catherine Whistler and Ben Thomas, which will open in 2017, and then move to the Albertina in Vienna. The exhibition is entitled Raphael and the Eloquence of Drawing, and will use ‘eloquence’ as a conceptual tool to reassess Raphael’s drawings – both in terms of the rhetorical ideas that were current in the sixteenth-century culture for which Raphael produced his works, and in terms of the material and gestural eloquence of the drawings themselves.
Dr Ben Thomas has also recently been elected the Chair of the Museums & Exhibitions Group of the Association of Art Historians. One of five members’ groups within the national organization for art historians, the Museums and Exhibitions Members’ Group represents the interests of museums and gallery professionals in the UK, and members who are interested in pursuing a career in a museum or gallery. It promotes dialogues between academics and curators, and acts as an advocate for art historical research in museums.
As well as these successes, Ben has recently published an article on the sculptor Alfred Drury in Sculpture Journal and a short biography of the art historian Edgar Wind in the Polish sociological journal Stan Rzeczy (State of Affairs).