Stanze di Raffaello / Raphael Rooms

Per informazioni e prenotazioni / Info and reservation:

Cooperativa IL SOGNO - Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. 06/ - Fax 06/

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The four Stanze di Raffaello ("Raphael's rooms") in the Palace of the Vatican form a suite of reception rooms, the public part of the papal apartments. They are famous for their frescoes, painted by Raphael and his workshop. Together with Michelangelo's ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, these are the grand fresco sequences that mark the High Renaissance in Rome.

The Stanze, as they are invariably called, were originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II. He commissioned Raphael, at the time 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.

Running from east to west, as a visitor would have entered the apartment, but not following the sequence in which the stanze were frescoed, the rooms are the Sala di Costantino ("Hall of Constantine"), the Stanza di Eliodoro ("Room of Heliodorus"), the Stanza della Segnatura ("Room of the Signatura") and the Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo ("The Room of the Fire in the Borgo").

After the death of Julius 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.

Sala di Costantino
The largest of the four rooms is the Sala di Costantino ("Hall of Constantine"). Its paintings were not begun until Pope Julius and indeed, Raphael himself had died. 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.

  • The 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. The vision in the sky is painted with the words "Εν τούτω νίκα" ("By this, conquer") written next to it.
  • The Battle of Milvian Bridge
    The Battle of Milvian Bridge shows the battle that took place on October 28, 312, following Constantine's vision.
  • The Donation of Constantine
    The Donation of Constantine was inspired by the famous forged documents that granted the Popes sovereignty over their territorial dominions.
  • The Baptism of Constantine
    The final painting, The Baptism of Constantine, was most likely painted by Gianfrancesco Penni, and shows the emperor on his deathbed.

Stanza di Eliodoro
The next room, going from East to West, is the Stanza di Eliodoro ("Room of Heliodorus"). It takes its name from one of the paintings. The theme of this private chamber was the heavenly protection granted by Christ to the Church. The four paintings are The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, The Deliverance of Saint Peter, The Meeting of Pope Leo I and Attila and The Mass at Bolsena. In all of these frescoes, Raphael flatteringly includes his patron, Pope Julius II, as participant or observer.

  • The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple
    In The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple Raphael illustrated the biblical episode from II Maccabees (3:21-28) about Heliodorus, who was sent to seize the treasure preserved in the Temple in Jerusalem, but was trampled by a horse.
  • Deliverance of Saint Peter
    The Deliverance of Saint Peter shows, in three episodes, how Saint Peter was liberated from prison by an angel, as described in Acts 12.
  • The Meeting of Leo the Great and Attila
    The 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. Interestingly, Raphael first depicted Leo I with the face of Pope Julius II but after Julius' death, Raphael changed the painting to resemble the new pope, Leo X.
  • The Mass at Bolsena
    The 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.

Stanza della Segnatura
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, represented in tondi above the lunettes of the walls. The theme of this room is worldly and spiritual wisdom and the harmony which Renaissance humanists perceived between Christian teaching and Greek philosophy. The theme of wisdom is appropriate as this room was the council chamber for the Apostolic Signatura, where most of the important papal documents were signed and sealed.

  • Disputation of the Holy Sacrament
    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.
  • The School of Athens
    Toward the end of 1509, Raphael began work on the wall opposite the Disputa. This second painting, entitled The School of Athens, represents the truth acquired through reason; it was meant to reside over the philosophical section of Pope Julius II's library. It is perhaps Raphael's most famous fresco.
  • The Parnassus
    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. In the fresco Apollo and the muses are surrounded by poets from antiquity and Raphael's own time.
  • The Cardinal Virtues
    The two scenes on the fourth wall, executed by the workshop, and the lunette above it, containing the Cardinal Virtues, were painted in 1511. The Cardinal Virtues allegorically presents the virtues of fortitude, prudence and temperance.

Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo
The Stanza dell'incendio del 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. The other paintings in the room are The Oath of Leo III, The Coronation of Charlemagne by Leo III, and The Battle of Ostia. Though the Fire in the Borgo was based on Raphael's mature designs it was executed by his assistants, who painted the other three paintings without his guidance.

  • The Oath of 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. This event is shown in The Oath of Leo III.
  • The Coronation of Charlemagne
    The Coronation of Charlemagne shows how Charlemagne was crowned Imperator Romanorum on Christmas Day, 800.
  • Fire in the Borgo
    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.
  • The Battle of Ostia
    The Battle of Ostia was inspired by the naval victory of Leo IV over the Saracens at Ostia in 849.
La scuola di Atene / The School of Athens
The bracketed names are the contemporary characters from whom Raphael is thought to have drawn his likenesses.
1: Zeno of Citium or Zeno of Elea?
2: Epicurus
3: Federigo II of Mantua?
4: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius or Anaximander or Empedocles?
5: Averroes?
6: Pythagoras?
7: Alcibiades or Alexander the Great?
8: Antisthenes or Xenophon?
9: Hypatia (Francesco Maria della Rovere or Raphael's mistress Margherita)
10: Aeschines or Xenophon?
11: Parmenides?
12: Socrates?
13: Heraclitus (Michelangelo)
14: Plato holding the Timaeus (Leonardo da Vinci)
15: Aristotle holding the Ethics?
16: Diogenes of Sinope?
17: Plotinus?
18: Euclid or Archimedes with students (Bramante)?
19: Strabo or Zoroaster? (Baldassare Castiglione or Pietro Bembo)
20: Ptolemy?
R: Apelles (Raphael)
21: Protogenes (Il Sodoma or Perugino)

Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.

Le Stanze di Raffaello fanno parte dei Musei Vaticani e sono così chiamate perché affrescate dal grande pittore urbinate o da allievi della sua scuola.


In origine queste stanze facevano parte dell’appartamento privato di Papa Giulio II e dei suoi successori (fino a Gregorio XIII), e, oltre alle stanze, comprendevano anche la Sala dei chiaroscuri, la cappella Niccolina (cappella privata del papa), la Loggia (anch'essa decorata da Raffaello, ma visitabile solo dagli studiosi), e il cubiculum, ossia la camera da letto del pontefice (chiusa ai visitatori). Giulio II decise di trasferirsi qui lasciando l'Appartamento Borgia perché, come testimonia il suo cerimoniere, “non volebat videre omni hora figuram Alexandri praedecessoris sui” (“non voleva vedere in ogni istante l'immagine del suo predecessore Alessandro”, cioè Alessandro VI Borgia).

Raffaello e i suoi aiutanti affrescarono le stanze tra il 1508 e il 1524, e rappresentano l’inizio della fortuna dell’urbinate a Roma; il suo successo fu tale che opere di Piero della Francesca, Luca Signorelli, del Perugino furono o totalmente o in parte distrutte per far posto ai suoi capolavori.

Le stanze e gli affreschi

Quattro sono le stanze decorate da Raffaello o dai suoi aiutanti:

Sala di Costantino

In origine la sala era destinata ai ricevimenti e alle cerimonie ufficiali. Raffaello affidò ai propri allievi la decorazione delle pareti, che continuarono l'opera del maestro dopo la sua morte (1520). Il soffitto invece venne decorato nel 1585.
Il tema iconografico principale mira all'esaltazione della Chiesa, della sua vittoria sul paganesimo e al suo insediamento nella città di Roma.
Quattro sono gli affreschi:

  • Visione della croce
  • Battaglia di Costantino contro Massenzio
  • Battesimo di Costantino
  • Donazione di Roma

Stanza di Eliodoro

In origine la stanza era destinata a sala di udienze e fu decorata totalmente da Raffaello, sia le pareti che la volta. Il tema iconografico è di carattere politico: con esso si vuole sottolineare la protezione accordata da Dio alla sua Chiesa, in alcuni momenti della sua storia.
Quattro gli affreschi alle pareti:

  • Messa di Bolsena
  • Liberazione di San Pietro
  • Incontro di Leone Magno con Attila
  • Cacciata di Eliodoro dal tempio.

Nel soffitto Raffaello ha rappresentato quattro episodi biblici: il Sacrificio di Isacco, il Roveto ardente, la Scala di Giacobbe, l'Apparizione di Dio a Noé.

Stanza della Segnatura

È certamente la stanza più importante tra quelle affrescate da Raffaello. In origine essa era destinata a servire da studio e biblioteca di Papa Giulio II, ed è stata interamente affrescata dal pittore urbinate.
Il tema iconografico è di carattere teologico-filosofico e mira ad affermare le categorie neoplatoniche del Vero, del Bene e del Bello.
Questi gli affreschi alle pareti:

  • Disputa del Sacramento
  • Scuola di Atene
  • Parnaso
  • Le Virtù Cardinali e Teologali, e la Legge, rappresentata da Gregorio IX riceve le Decretali (legge canonica) e Triboniano consegna a Giustiniano le Pandette (legge civile). Quest'ultimo affresco fu eseguito da Lorenzo Lotto su disegni di Raffaello.

Oltre alle pareti, Raffaello ha dipinto la volta. In essa vi sono: quattro medaglioni raffiguranti la Teologia, la Filosofia, la Giustizia e la Poesia; quattro riquadri raffiguranti: Adamo ed Eva, il Primo Moto, il Giudizio di Salomone, Apollo e Marsia.
Sui battenti della porta della stanza (realizzata probabilmente dall'allievo di Raffaello Giovanni da Udine), è invece raffigurato l'elefante Annone, un animale esotico molto celebre all'epoca donato a Leone X dal re del Portogallo, e che venne immortalato da Giulio Romano in un affresco in Vaticano (ora perduto).

Stanza dell’Incendio di Borgo

In ordine cronologico questa è l'ultima stanza a cui lavorò Raffaello. In origine essa era destinata a sala da pranzo. Il maestro affidò gran parte della realizzazione degli affreschi ai suoi allievi.
Il tema principale delle opere è quello di esaltare la figura di Papa Leone X attraverso storie tratte dalla vita di altri due papi con lo stesso nome: Leone III e Leone IV.
Quattro gli affreschi alle pareti:

  • Incoronazione di Carlo Magno
  • Giuramento di Leone III
  • Incendio di Borgo
  • Battaglia di Ostia

Per informazioni e prenotazioni / Info and reservation:

Cooperativa IL SOGNO - Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. 06/ - Fax 06/

Email :

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Per informazioni e prenotazioni / Info and reservation:

Cooperativa IL SOGNO - Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. 06/ - Fax 06/

Email :