Stanze Di Raffaello

Even in the shadow of the Sistine Chapel, the Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms) stand out, their brilliance testament to the artistic genius of Raphael and the foresight of Pope Julius II, his first Roman patron. The four rooms were part of Julius' private apartment and in 1508 he commissioned the 25-year-old Raphael to decorate them.

But while they carry his name, not all the rooms were completed by Raphael: he painted the Stanza della Segnatura (Study) and the Stanza d'Eliodoro (Waiting Room), while both the Stanza dell'lncendio (Dining Room) and the Sala di Costantino (Reception Room) were decorated by students following his designs.

The Sala di Costantino is the first room you come to. Finished by Giulio Romano in 1525, five years after Raphael's death, it was used for official functions and decorated to highlight the triumph of Christianity over paganism. This theme is evident in the huge Battaglia di Costantino contro Maxen-tius (Battle of the Milvian Bridge), in which Constantine, Rome's first Christian emperor, defeats his rival Maxentius.

Leading off this sala are two rooms that are not traditionally counted as Raphael rooms. The Sala dei Chiaroscuri was decorated in the 16th century and used for ceremonial purposes. Pope Gregory XIII had much of Raphael's original frescoes removed, but the ceiling, designed by Raphael and executed by his students, remains. A small door leads to the tiny Cappella di Niccolo V, which was Pope Nicholas V's private chapel. The superb frescoes were painted by Fra Angelico around 1450 and depict the lives of St Stephen (upper level) and St Lawrence (lower level).

The Stanza d'Eliodoro, which was used for private audiences, was painted between 1512 and 1514. It takes its name from the painting on the main wall to the right of the entrance, the Cacciata d'Eliodoro (Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple). An allegorical work, it tells the story of Heliodorus being killed as he tries to make off with booty stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem; the allusion, however, is to Julius ll's military victory over foreign powers.

To the left of this is the Messa diBolsena (Mass of Bolsena), showing Julius II paying homage to the relic of a 13th-century miracle at the lake town of Bolsena (see p270). Next is Incontro di Leone Magno conAttila (Encounter of Leo the Great with Attila) by Raphael and his school, and on the fourth wall the Liber-azione diSan Pietro (Liberation of St Peter). This depicts St Peter being freed from prison but is actually an allusion to Pope Leo's imprisonment after the Battle of Ravenna (also the real subject of the Attila fresco).

The Stanza della Segnatura is named after the Segnatura Gratiae et lustitiae, the Vatican court that sat here in the 16th century. Here you'll find Raphael's earliest frescoes and his masterpiece, La Scuola d'Atene (The School of Athens), featuring philosophers and scholars gathered around Plato and Aristotle. The lone figure in front of the steps is believed to be Michelangelo, while the figure of Plato is said to be a portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, and Euclide (in the lower right) is Bramante. Raphael also included a self-portrait in the lower right corner (he's the second figure from the right). Opposite is La Disputa del Sacramento (Disputation on the Sacrament), also by Raphael.

The last of Raphael's four rooms, the Stanza dell'lncendio, was completed after the death of Julius II (1513) during Leo X's papacy and is largely dedicated to the glory of his namesakes Leo III and Leo IV. The most famous work, Incendio diBorgo (Fire in the Borgo), depicts Leo IV extinguishing a fire by making the sign of the cross. The ceiling was painted by Raphael's master, Perugino.

From Raphael's rooms, stairs lead to the Appartamento Borgia, decorated with frescoes by Bernardino Pinturicchio and the Vatican's collection of modern religious art.

Enneagram Essentials

Enneagram Essentials

Tap into your inner power today. Discover The Untold Secrets Used By Experts To Tap Into The Power Of Your Inner Personality Help You Unleash Your Full Potential. Finally You Can Fully Equip Yourself With These “Must Have” Personality Finding Tools For Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment