The Vatican Museum unveils Raphael’s Rooms

The Vatican Museum unveils Raphael’s Rooms

The Vatican Museum opened the doors of the three (out of four) Raphael’s rooms to a selected number of journalists and special guests to admire the restoration of the rooms that originally were the private lodging of Pope Julius II.

The presence of Professor Christoph Litpold Frommel, the Author of one of the latest art book “The Stanze di Raffaello,” presented as a preview, was an added bonus for the special occasion. Ms. Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museum introduced the work of Prof. Frommel, followed by comments by Prof. Ms. Stefania Pasti and Prof. Claudio Castelletti.

Prof. Christoph Litpold Frommel, Ms. Barbara Jatta and Prof. Stefania Pasti

The fourth room, still under restoration, will be ready in 2020. The four rooms will be open to the public in 2020 on occasion of the anniversary celebrations of Emperor Constantin and named “Raphael’s Rooms” to attract the attention of the Vatican Museum’s visitors and include them to the visit of the Sistine Chapel.

The brief story:

In 1508 Pope Julius II, then at the height of his glory, had the Sistine Chapel decorated by Michelangelo and his private apartments by Raphael, realizing just in a few years two of the greatest works in the entire history of art. While Michelangelo focused on the creation of man, Raphael evoked the Stanza della Segnatura (the highest papal court) the great Mediterranean tradition, from Homer until his time.

The opening of the cycle of frescoes is the Blessed Sacrament, that accompanies us on the Parnassus, and introduces the School of Athens, where the laws and mysteries of the universe are discussed, and the cycle concludes with the image of the legislator Pope.

The serious crisis, both political and personal, that Julius II faces, gives the later Room of Heliodorus more spiritual, intimate and enigmatic character. Over the period of centuries, the pontiff is led to the temple of Jerusalem. It is then conducted in medieval Bolsena (a district in the vicinity of Rome) because it must be convinced of the mysteries of faith. He identifies himself with Leo the Great who rejects Attila and, a few months before his death, the angel frees him from the earthly prison.

Elected in March 1513, the new Pope, the young Leo X, instructed Raphael to fresco the Fire Room. But he is represented as a peacemaker and new Aeneas, as the founder of Rome, he wins the battle against the unfaithful, puts the imperial crown on the head of Carlo Magno (Franco-Lombard king, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) and fights off all the accusations made against him.

In 1519 Raphael prepares the cycle of Constantine for the Pope, but passes, away leaving the work unfinished. This volume of Professor C.L.Frommel accompanies us on a journey through the rooms recently restored to its originl splendor. Masterpiece after masterpiece, reveals the intent of works, that reflect the culture of the Renaissance and its popes.

Christoph Litpold Frommel (Heidelberg, 1933) was a professor at the University of California , Berkeley. From 1980 to 2001 he was director of the Hertziana Library of Rome (Max Planck-Institut). Between 2002 and 2005 he was a well-known professor at the University of Rome and received an honorary degree from the University of Naples Federico II. He is the Grand Officer of the Italian Republic, the Borghese Prize, the Academician of the Lincei, the British Academy and the Academy of San Luca; he was a member of the Higher Council of Cultural Heritage for Institutes and Libraries and in 2011 he received the Cultori di Roma award.

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