Eight seminal paintings by Renaissance master Raphael have been flown to Moscow to be part of a major exhibition entirely devoted to the Italian artist, the first of this kind in Russia.

The works, which include the portraits of Agnolo Doni and Maddalena Strozzi, commissioned to Raphael around 1506, will be on display at the Moscow’s Pushkin Fine Arts Museum until December 11. Another masterwork on loan is the famous self-portrait made between 1504 and 1506 (fun fact: the image used to be on the old 500,000 lira banknote).

The works have been loaned by various Italian museums including Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria Palatina of Palazzo Pitti.

Some employees of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, a global leader in art restoration, have criticized the loan saying the works of art may get damaged during the transfers to and from Russia, noting how stable temperature conditions are essential to the preservation of the paintings. 

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