What do Raphael’s Rooms hide in the Vatican Museums?
The Raphael’s Rooms are a total of four and are located in sequence within the Vatican Museums, they are named like this because they were painted by the great painter of Urbino and the students of his workshop.
According to Vasari’s testimony, these rooms already had important decorations since the 15th century, with some walls painted by Piero della Francesca, Benedetto Bonfigli, Andrea del Castagno, Luca Signorelli and Bartolomeo della Gatta.
At the beginning, the redecoration of the rooms was entrusted to a group of artists including Pietro Perugino, Sodoma, Baldassarre Peruzzi, Bramantino and Lorenzo Lotto, as well as the German Johannes Ruysch, a grotesque specialist. Perugino, for example, worked in the Room of the Fire in 1508, but his work did not please the Pope. Probably it was Bramante, the papal architect in charge of the reconstruction of the Vatican basilica, to suggest the name of Raffaello Sanzio, one of his own town to do decoration work in Rome. Pope Julius II ordered to be scraped them and commissioned Rafael to decorate the four rooms.
The pontiff, satisfied with the first sketches of the painter, gave him at the beginning of the decoration of the whole project, without hesitating to destroy the work of his predecessors and saving exclusively the Niccolina. After the death of Pope Julius II in 1513, with two rooms already decorated, Pope Leo X continued with the pre-stabilized restructuring program, thus Sanzio, with the help of a large number of assistants, began the work, room by room until his death in 1520, while his followers completed the decoration of his project until 1524.
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