Ahead of re-opening, London's V&A museum unveils new Raphael gallery

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) - London's Victoria & Albert museum unveiled a revamped look for its gallery holding the Raphael Cartoons on Thursday, following a refurbishment carried out to mark 500 years since the Italian Renaissance master's death.

The renovated Raphael Court features acoustic panelling, LED lighting and bespoke furniture, all aimed at showcasing the works' colours and intricate details, the museum said.

Raphael, who died in 1520 aged 37, painted the seven large designs for tapestries, which depict scenes from the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, after they were commissioned by Pope Leo X for the Sistine Chapel.

"Cartoon in this context is a work which is a design for something ... It's a work which is a kind of design tool," Philippa Simpson, director of design, estate and public programme at the V&A, told Reuters.

"The works ... are probably some of the most significant Renaissance masterpieces in the U.K."

Visitors will also be able to use a QR code for a detailed digital explanation of the Cartoons, on loan to the museum from the Royal Collection.

The V&A, named after Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, will re-open its doors to the public on May 19 in the next phase of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown.

Though entry is free, visitors will need to book timed tickets and wear face coverings.

"It has been a really tough year," Simpson said.

"Galleries ... really do feel like a ghost ship without the visitors in them. It's a building which is brought to life by the public."

Reporting by Ben Makori; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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