Vatican Museums


Musei Vaticani_1
Viale Vaticano
Every day except Sunday 9:00-16:30. Admission fee.
2016 Calendar with special openings at www.vatican.va

The private apartment of Pope Alexander VI Borgia, elected in 1492 and who died in 1503 was partly within the Borgia Tower, built for the Pope himself, and partly inside the palace of Nicholas V. Pinturicchio and his assistants decorated the six rooms of which it comprises between the end of 1492 and 1495. However, the so-called Hall of the Popes had to be freshly painted by Giovanni da Udine and Perin del Vaga at the beginning of the 1500s because it was in a poor condition. After the death of Alexander VI, the apartment was no longer used by his successors. The frescoes by Pinturicchio celebrate the Spanish pontiff and the Borgia in a cycle of frescoes that are rich in detail and not lacking in the superimposition of Christian and classical mythological themes.

Foto Servizio Fotografico dei Musei Vaticani – ©Musei Vaticani

As the Borgia apartment was no longer in use, Julius II decided to decorate four rooms on the first floor for use as his private rooms. Raphael began work in 1508 and, after his death, his students completed the rooms in 1524. Raphael began to paint in the Stanza della Segnatura (“Room of the Signatura”), the library of Julius II, with the extremely famous panel of the School of Athens; then he worked in the Stanza di Eliodoro (“Room of Heliodorus”), where, in the Meeting of Leo the Great and Attila, the portrait of the new pope, Leo X, elected in March 1513, can be found. The last frescoes to be completed by Raphael together with his students can be found in the next room, Stanza dell’Incendio del Borgo (“The Room of the Fire in the Borgo”). The artist died in April 1520, leaving the designs to which Giulio Romano and Francesco Penni completed the fourth and largest room, the Sala di Costantino (“Hall of Constantine”).

Foto Servizio Fotografico dei Musei Vaticani – ©Musei Vaticani

The chapel is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and was built between 1475 and 1481 for Pope Sixtus IV. On the side walls, the original decoration, completed in 1483 by a team of artists from Tuscany and Umbria (Perugino, Signorelli, Pinturicchio, Botticelli) are still intact and show stories of Moses and scenes from the life of Christ; there are false drapes in the lower register and figures of popes between the windows. Cracks in the ceiling caused by structural problems lead to the replacement of the original starry sky with the Stories of Genesis, prophets, sibyls and the ancestors of Christ painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. Several years later (1536-41), Michelangelo also painted the extraordinary Last Judgement fresco on the wall behind the altar.

Foto Servizio Fotografico dei Musei Vaticani – ©Musei Vaticani

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Viale Vaticano, Roma, Italy


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