“Lady with a Unicorn” Raphael, lockdown recreation 2020

← Back to the Portfolio

Isolation Recreation: “Lady with a Unicorn” Raphael, lockdown recreation 2020

Completed during lockdown 2020, 130 people paint a square on ” Lady with a Unicorn” by Raphael



  •    Tina McCallan is invited 130 people to re-create Raphael’s “Lady with a Unicorn”
  •    Painted in 1506, she sent  participants an emailed square to paint at home, connecting people globally through creativity and breaking down the sense of isolation.


  •    Inspired by the painting workshops of the 15th Century, where artists had assistants painting parts of the picture, McCallan invites the public to become not just the viewers but the artists themselves.


  •    Each participant signed up to the project through the weblink above, they were sent a square of the painting to paint and instructions on how to submit it once finished.
  •    Their painted square must measure 10 cm x 10 cm and can be completed in any media.
  •    Participants then took a photo of their finished square plus an optional selfie with it and uploaded it to the web link given on the emailed form. The painting was reconstructed square by square and the final image will be uploaded to Tina’s website.
  •    Each participant gets an image of the finished painting and a place in Re-creation History!


  •     For this version, anyone over 15 years old, no experience necessary.
  •    Although the goal is to copy each square as closely as possible the finished painting will be a dazzling mixture of styles and skills


  •    The portrait is of a fashionably dressed girl whose identity remains a mystery but has been identified by various scholars as Laura Orsini, Julia Farnese or Maddalena Strozzi.
  •    It’s the 15th Century equivalent of an Instagram profile pic at a time when the pace of life was much slower, with no planes, no cars, no internet and, during this period of isolation, it’s almost as if we have travelled back in time to a previous century.
  •    We also see a Unicorn. The Ancient Greeks believed they were real while the Christians associated them with Virgins. Nowadays, the symbol of the Unicorn remains insanely popular and represents in equal measure: hope, purity, equality and a belief in the magical.
  •    For McCallan, in this painting, the Unicorn represents the imagination and the alchemical process of creativity which she believes has real potential to transform this time into something positive.
  •    Tina McCallan studied B.A.Fine Art at Portsmouth and an M.A. in Painting at The Royal Academy of Arts in London.
  •    She was awarded a two year DAAD scholarship to study at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf.
  •    Since then she has been making Re-creations in galleries, museums and workplaces.
  • Selected projects include :The National Gallery, London, The Museum of London, The Trafalgar Hilton to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair, The St Margaret’s Church Ale Performance Festival,  the Glastonbury Festival, The United Nations, Lebanon and, more recently, The Museum of Fine Arts, Valencia, Spain.


Please go to :



  •    For this virtual version of a recreation she was assisted by Artist and Writer; K.L.Brown. Her work and writing can be viewed at: http://www.awayfromthegrain.com and she is the co-creator The Body Room, an interactive, feminist art installation, which recently had its UK debut in Peckham, London. Find out more at http://www.bodyroomproject.com and on instagram @the_body_room 
  • Filed under: Re-Creations