London looks to the past—and projects into the future—with two blockbuster exhibitions. The National Gallery, which mounted recent retrospectives on Titian and El Greco, is showcasing another old master: "Raphael: From Urbino to Rome" (October 20-January 16; Trafalgar Square; www.nationalgallery.org.uk) traces the meteoric rise of the Italian Renaissance artist whowent from being a provincial altarpiece painter to working for Pope Julius II at the papal court in Rome. This first comprehensive show outside Italy gathers more than 100 pieces from the Hermitage, the Louvre, and the Uffizi—among them the newly cleaned Alba Madonna and nine drawings for the Vatican's Disputa.
Meanwhile, an ultra-modern artistic vision can be seen at the city's Design Museum in the influential style of Australia-born Marc Newson (October 23-January 30; Shad Thames; www.designmuseum.com). Newson's most important projects are presented, the 1986 stainless-steel Lockheed Lounge chair, a Ford concept car, renderings of New York's Lever House restaurant, and the futuristic Kelvin 40, a private-jet model worthy of Star Wars.