MAY 10,2014 - MAY 10,2014 (1 DAYS)
Raphael Rooms (Stanze di Rafaello):
The four Raphael Rooms (Italian: Stanze di Raffaello) form a suite of reception rooms, the public part of the papal apartments in the Palace of the Vatican. They are famous for their frescoes, painted by Raphael and his workshop. Together with Michelangelo's ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, they are the grand fresco sequences that mark the High Renaissance in Rome.
The Stanze, as they are commonly called, were originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II. He commissioned Raphael, then a relatively young artist from Urbino, and his studio in 1508 or 1509 to redecorate the existing interiors of the rooms entirely. It was possibly Julius' intent to outshine the apartments of his predecessor (and rival) Pope Alexander VI, as the Stanze are directly above Alexander's Borgia Apartment. They are on the third floor, overlooking the south side of the Belvedere Courtyard. After the death of Julius II in 1513, with two rooms frescoed, Pope Leo X continued the program. Following Raphael's death in 1520, his assistants Gianfrancesco Penni, Giulio Romano and Raffaellino del Colle finished the project with the frescoes in the Sala di Costantino.
Running from east to west, as a visitor would have entered the apartments:
Sala di Costantino ("Hall of Constantine"):
The room is dedicated to the victory of Christianity over paganism. Its frescoes represent this struggle from the life of the Roman Emperor Constantine, and are the work of Giulio Romano, Gianfrancesco Penni and Raffaellino del Colle. Because they are not by the master himself, the frescos are less famous than works in the neighboring rooms. Continuing a long tradition of flattery, Raphael's assistants gave the features of the current pontiff, Clement VII, to Pope Sylvester in the paintings.
General view (I)
General view (II)
East Wall - Vision of the Cross: The fresco of The Vision of the Cross depicts the legendary story of a great cross appearing to Constantine as he marched to confront his rival Maxentius.
South Wall - The Battle of the Milvian Bridge (Giulio Romano). The Battle of Milvian Bridge shows the battle that took place on October 28, 312, following Constantine's vision:
West Wall - The Baptism of Constantine, was most likely painted by Gianfrancesco Penni, and shows the emperor being baptised by Pope Sylvester I in the Lateran Baptistery at Rome:
North Wall - The Donation of Constantine, records an event that supposedly took place shortly after Constantine's baptism, and was inspired by the famous forged documents, incorporated into Gratian's Decretum, granting the Papacy sovereignty over Rome's territorial dominions:
Ceiling of the Room of Constantine - Triumph of Christian Religion - Tommaso Laureti:
Stanza dell'Incendio del Borgo ("The Room of the Fire in the Borgo"):
was named for the Fire in the Borgo fresco which depicts Pope Leo IV making the sign of the cross to extinguish a raging fire in the Borgo district of Rome near the Vatican. This room was prepared as a music room for Julius' successor, Leo X. The frescos depict events from the lives of Popes Leo III and Leo IV.
General view (I):
General view (II):
East Wall - The Battle of Ostia was inspired by the naval victory of Leo IV over the Saracens at Ostia in 849:
South Wall - The Fire in the Borgo shows an event that is documented in the Liber Pontificalis: a fire that broke out in the Borgo in Rome in 847. According to the Catholic Church, Pope Leo IV contained the fire with his benediction:
West Wall - The Coronation of Charlemagne shows how Charlemagne was crowned Imperator Romanorum on Christmas Day, 800:
North Wall - The Oath of Pope Leo III. On December 23, 800 AD, Pope Leo III took an oath of purgation concerning charges brought against him by the nephews of his predecessor Pope Hadrian I:
Ceiling of the Stanza dell’Incendio del Borgo Perugino:
Stanza di Eliodoro ("Room of Heliodorus"): Painted between 1511 and 1514, it takes its name from one of the paintings. The theme of this private chamber - probably an audience room - was the heavenly protection granted by Christ to the Church.
General View I:
General View II:
East Wall - The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple. Raphael illustrated the biblical episode from II Maccabees about Heliodorus, who was sent to seize the treasure preserved in the Temple in Jerusalem, but was stopped when the prayer of the priest of the temple was answered by angels who flogged the intruder and an angelic rider who chased him from the temple:
South Wall - Mass at Bolsena depicts the story of a Bohemian priest who in 1263 ceased to doubt the doctrine of Transubstantiation when he saw the bread begin to bleed during its consecration at Mass. The cloth that was stained by the blood was held as a relic at the nearby town of Orvieto; Julius II had visited Orvieto and prayed over the relic in 1506. The Pope is portrayed as a participant in the Mass and a witness to the miracle; he kneels to the right of the altar, with members of the Curia (also portraits) standing behind him:
West Wall - Meeting of Leo the Great and Attila depicts the storied parley between the Pope and the Hun conqueror, and includes the legendary images of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the sky bearing swords:
North Wall - The Deliverance of Saint Peter shows, in three episodes, how Saint Peter was liberated from prison by an angel, as described in Acts 12:
Ceiling of the Stanza di Eliodoro - Date 1513-14 - Raphael:
Stanza della Segnatura ("Room of the Signatura"):
The Stanza della segnatura ("Room of the Signatura") was the first to be decorated by Raphael's frescoes. It was the study housing the library of Julius II, in which the Signatura of grace tribunal was originally located. The artist's concept brings into harmony the spirits of Antiquity and Christianity and reflects the contents of the pope's library with themes of theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, and the poetic arts. The theme of this room is worldly and spiritual wisdom and the harmony which Renaissance humanists perceived between Christian teaching and Greek philosophy.
General View I:
General View II:
East Wall - The School of Athens, by Raphael, represents the degrees of knowledge or the truth acquired through reason:
South Wall - Raphael (1483–1520), Cardinal and Theological Virtues:
West Wall - The first composition Raphael executed in 1508 or 1509 was the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, the traditional name for what is really an Adoration of the Sacrament. In the painting, Raphael created an image of the church, which is presented as spanning both heaven and earth:
North Wall - Raphael began the third composition at the end of 1509 or the beginning of 1510. It represents The Parnassus, the dwelling place of the god Apollo and the Muses and the home of poetry, according to classical myth:
Ceiling of the Stanza della Segnatura, Raphael (1483–1520), Date 1508-11:
Adam and Eve, ceiling fresco from the Stanza della Segnatura:
The Loggia of Raphaelon the second floor in the Palazzi Pontifici, 1518-1519 (closed):
The loggia, or colonnaded porch, on the second story of the Apostolic Palace (almost never open to the public) is one of the Vatican’s most remarkable art treasures; its decoration, designed by Raphael (1483—1520) and executed by his workshop in 1517- 1519, epitomizes the spirit of the Italian Renaissance in its synthesis of Christian and classical themes. The thirteen square vaults of Raphael’s loggia each contain four frescoes of scenes from the Bible (see photos below), from the Creation to the Last Supper. While Raphael's Vatican frescos were admired in their time, they were ultimately overshadowed by the work of Michaelangelo until the Neoclassicists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries rediscovered the Renaissance, and Raphael earned his place as the era's greatest artist of them all. "Raphael is categorically the greatest painter of the last millennium, and the Loggia is his most significant legacy," says Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums and esteemed art historian. The long Loggia di Raffaello has a beautiful view over Rome. Started by Bramante in 1513, and finished by Raphael and his assistants, it features 52 small paintings on biblical themes, and leads into the Sala dei Chiaroscuri (see below) (Gregory XIII obliterated Raphael's frescoes here, but the magnificent ceiling remains). The adjacent Cappella di Niccolò V (Chapel of Nicholas V, usually open) (see below), has outstanding frescoes of scenes from the lives of saints Lawrence and Stephen by Fra Angelico (1448-50). Looking from Saint Peter's Square, it is in the second of the three glassed-in hallways across from the building in which the pope resides. When it was constructed, in the early part of the sixteenth century, it overlooked a garden. The thirteen arches of the Loggia frescoed by Raphael were not enclosed in glass until the nineteenth century. Originally, they were open to the luminous Roman sky, which made their colors even more brilliant. Although the Loggia is inaccessible to the general public, there is now a magnificent book that permits one to admire it in all its splendor, with original photography of rare beauty. The volume, available in multiple languages, is the second in the series "Monumenta Vaticana Selecta," which illustrates a part of the Vatican's artistic heritage each year. Its first volume "unveiled" the Sistine Chapel. The author of the new volume is Belgian art historian Nicole Dacos, who has dedicated forty years of study to this extraordinary masterpiece:
The Separation of Land and Water 1518-19:
The Creation of the Animals:
Noah's Ark scene from the Vatican loggia:
Moses Saved from the Water:
The Judgment of Solomon:
Sala dei Chiaroscuri:
After visiting the Raphael Rooms' Sala di Constantino, you pop out into the Sala dei Chiaroscuro, with a 16th-century wooden ceiling bearing the Medici arms and a little doorway in the corner many people miss and most tour groups skip. Their loss.
Chapel of Nicholas V, Cappella Niccolina (1447–49)
The adjacent Cappella di Niccolò V (Chapel of Nicholas V, usually NOT open, sometimes open only to guided tours). Perhaps one of the most important rooms in the Vatican Museums, this chapel was opened until 2006 when it began an extensive restoration that only completed in 2009. It has remained closed to the public ever since. Has outstanding frescoes of scenes from the lives of saints Lawrence and Stephen by Fra Angelico (1448-50). Sadly, for some reason authorities have recently begun putting a bar across the doorway so you can't actually enter the room. The best you can do is sort of lean over the bar and crane your neck for a peek at these glorious frescoes. Through this doorway is the Vatican's most gorgeous hidden corner, the closet-size Chapel of Nicholas V. The tiny chapel in the Tower of Innocent III was intended as a private place for Pope Nicholas V to pray. Colorfully frescoed floor-to-ceiling with gentle, early Renaissance Tuscan genius by that devout little monk of a painter, Fra' Angelico. It is especially notable for its fresco paintings by Fra Angelico (1447–1451) and his assistants, who may have executed much of the actual work. The name is derived from its patron, Pope Nicholas V, who had it built for use as his private chapel:
St. Stephen depicted in the top half and St. Laurence the bottom half:
From the Stanza dell'Incendio del Borgo ("The Room of the Fire in the Borgo") in Raphael Rooms a door leads into the Chapel of Urban VIII, whose ceiling was painted by Pietro da Cortona. According to existing documents, in 1624 the Barberini Pope decided to start the decoration of his private Chapel, which was going to be known as the Private Chapel of Urban VIII and of the nearby staircase (Scala Segreta, the Secret Staircase). The Pope first asked Simone Lagi to take care of the decoration of the walls and vault of the staircase. Soon after the works of the staircase were finished, Simone Lagi was commissioned to decorate the Chapel. But this time he was going to work with the highly praised Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669). This great Italian painter and architect was one of the leaders of the XVII Century high baroque style in Rome.
Sala dell'Immacolata Concezione (Room of the Immaculate Conception), represents the dogma of the immaculate conception of the virgin. The artwork here is by the artist Francesco Podesti, and were painted in 1854:
Ceiling of the Room of the Immaculate Conception:
Sala Sobieski: The Sobieski Room, just off the apartments of Pope Pius V, is dominated by the great oil painting, completed in 1883 by Polish painter Jan Matejko (1838-93), of 'Sobieski pod Wiedniem', representing the victory of the King of Poland John III Sobieski against the Ottomans at Vienna in 1683.
Victory of John III Sobieski King of Poland against the Turks at the Battle of Vienna - a famous picture in Sala Sobieski:
At the end of the Galleria degli Arazzi (Gallery of Tapestries) lies the Apartment / Gallery of Pope Pius V (1566-1572), including his own chapel; this dome above it was intricately frescoed by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari.
The treasures of the Sancta Sanctorum are displayed in the Chapel of St. Pius V at the start of the museum. Notable works include an enamel cross given by Pope Paschal I (817-24) depicting scenes from Christ's life and containing five pieces of the True Cross; a 9th-century gold filigree Greek cross, also containing a fragment of the Cross, decorated with precious stones and still bearing some of the balsams with which the pope anointed it every year:
Comprising a gallery, two small rooms and a chapel, the apartment of Pius V was originally built for Pope Pius V (1566-1572). It also features several Flemish tapestry works dating from the 15th and 16th century. One of the two small rooms houses an assembly of medieval and Renaissance ceramics; the other features a collection of very small pieces of mosaic art, created in Rome during the period c.1790-1850.
Tapestry in Pius V Gallery:
Maps room/ Gallery (Galleria delle Carte): Spend lots of time in the Map room, the pictures are glorious. Pope Gregory XIII (who was responsible for introducing the Gregorian calendar) had a craze for astronomy, and was responsible for this 120m-long (394ft) gallery, with its Tower of the Winds observation point at the north end. Ignazio Danti of Perugia drew the maps, which were then frescoed (1580-83), and show each Italian region, city and island with extraordinary precision:
Gallery of Tapestries, Galleria degli Arazzi - there are large canvases on both sides where stories from the Bible are told. The next stop would be the Galleria degli Arazzi (Gallery of Tapestries), a simple room with 27 tapestries which have been bought three times by a succession of Popes. Leo X commissioned the painter Raphael for the drawings in 1515. On completion of the cartoons, the Pope sent them to Pieter van Aelst, the famed tapestry weaver in Brussels. This was the first buy. During the sack of Rome in 1527, the tapestries were stolen, forcing Pope Julius III to negotiate their return. Again when Rome was overrun by France in 1798, the tapestries disappeared, yet again compelling Pope Pius VII to buy them back. It is a wonder these tapestries, woven in threads of gold, silk and wool, have survived at all.
They were meant to hang in the Sistine Chapel. However, the ceiling of the Chapel was decorated by the fabled paintings of Michelangelo, the walls frescoes by such masters as Botticelli and Perugino. So the only place left for Pope Leo X to leave his mark for posterity was the walls. However, after the third buy, these tapestries have hung where you see them now.
'The Resurrection of Our Lord', depicting the triumphant emerging of Christ after His crucifixion is one of the most arresting of the tapestries on display. Of special interest is the slab of stone at the feet of Jesus – as you walk past the tapestry the slab follows you. Equally intricate are the following: 'Adoration of the Shepherds', 'Adoration of the Magi' and 'The Massacre of the Innocents'. The last one in the photos above is a detail of one of the tapestries.
Mother and Child:
Massacre of the Innocents tapestry:
Adoration of the Magi:
The Resurrection tapestry:
Last Supper, tapestry (detail):
The Miraculous Draught of Fishes:
Tapestries representing the life of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini who became later Pope Urban VIII (Barberini workshop, Rome 17C):
Braccio Nuovo (New Wing):
A 68 metre long gallery which is covered by a coffered ceiling with skylights. At the centre a hemicycle opens on one side, whilst on the other a flight of steps leads to the monumental portico which opens onto the Courtyard of the Pine Cone (Cortile della Pigna). Along the walls of the gallery are twenty-eight niches which hold larger-than-life-size statues portraying emperors and Roman replicas of famous Greek statues. The busts displayed on the corbels and half-columns represent a gallery of famous names from antiquity.
the River Nile, God of Rivers. This colossal statue of the Nile was found in 1513 in Campo Marzio where it was probably part of the decoration of the Iseo Campense, dedicated to the Egyptian deities Isis and Serapis. The river is shown as a venerable old man stretched out on his side with a cornucopia of fruit in his left arm and ears of wheat in his right hand. Egypt is represented by the presence of a sphinx, on which the figure of the Nile supports himself, and by some exotic animals. The scene is enlivened by sixteen children who allude to the sixteen cubits of water by which the Nile rises for its annual flood. The base of the statue is decorated with a Nile landscape with pygmies, hippopotamus and crocodiles. The sculpture was probably inspired by a monumental statue of the Nile in black basalt, a masterpiece of Alexandrian Greek sculpture, which Pliny the Elder described as being within the Forum of Peace:
Galleria dei Candelabri, Chandeliers Room:
Further down is the Galleria dei Candelabri, so named after the eight magnificent candelabra made of white marble in the gallery. Commissioned and opened by Pope Pius VI in 1761, the Gallery of the Candelabra, is a long and narrow passage with innumerable artistic delights in the form of antique Roman sculptures. These sculptures and the jostling of the crowd, prevents one from truly enjoying the lavish paintings on the walls and on the ceiling done by Ludwig Seitz and Domenico Torti. They were commissioned by Pope Leo XIII and completed the project during the period 1883-87.
In one of the frescoes in the ceiling, St. Thomas Aquinas is kneeling while making an offering of his treatise to the Church. In the foreground, Aristotle, representing Reason, is depicted, thereby endorsing the gesture of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Chariots Room, Sala della Biga:
Beyond lies the Sala della Biga, another collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. There are too many beautiful objects d’art to enumerate here. Foremost is the light and stable racing chariot, unlike the normal ornate chariot used in triumphal processions in ancient Rome.
The Etruscan Museum:
Gregory XVI (1831-1846) founded the Etruscan Museum (1837) with archaeological finds discovered during excavations carried out from 1828 onwards in southern Etruria. Later, he established the Egyptian Museum (1839), which houses ancient artifacts from explorations in Egypt, together with other pieces already conserved in the Vatican and in the Museo Capitolino, and the Lateran Profane Museum (1844), with statues, bas-relief sculptures and mosaics of the Roman era, which could not be adequately placed in the Vatican Palace. The Lateran Profane Museum was expanded in 1854 under Pius IX (1846-1878) with the addition of the Pio Christian Museum. This museum is comprised of ancient sculptures (especially sarcophagi) and inscriptions with ancient Christian content. In 1910, under the pontificate of Saint Pius X (1903-1914), the Hebrew Lapidary was established. This section of the museum contains 137 inscriptions from ancient Hebrew cemeteries in Rome mostly from via Portuense and donated by the Marquisate Pellegrini-Quarantotti. These last collections (Gregorian Profane Museum, Pio Christian Museum and the Hebrew Lapidary) were transferred, under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), from the Lateran Palace to their present building within the Vatican and inaugurated in 1970. After the Villa Giulia, this is the most important Etruscan collection in Rome. On April 4, 2013, the latest version of the Etruscanning 3D application was inaugurated in the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco in the Vatican Museums. The installation consists of a non-interactive film that is displayed in Room 2 where the Regolini-Galasssi objects are displayed.
The Mars of Todi Statue, Bronze. 4th century B.C. Total height of statue - 1.69 m:
Etruscan cinerary urn, Polychrome terracotta. First half of the 2nd century B.C:
Sarcophagus from the “Tomb of the Sarcophagi”, from Cerveteri,
Limestone. End of the 5th—beginning of the 4th century B.C.: