• gerard van weyenbergh

Raphael tapestries are back in the Sistine Chapel after 400 years.

It has been over 400 years since the twelve pieces of Raphael's tapestries (1483-1520) have been seen in their original location.

For the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael, the artworks are returned to the walls of the Sistine Chapel.

These monumental tapestries, the largest of which measure between 16' and 19', temporarily left Room VIII (also called Raphael's drawing room) from the Vatican Pinacoteca to reach the religious building. Usually protected behind glass panes in air-conditioned rooms, they cannot be exposed permanently in the Chapel because of their fragility. This event is unprecedented. The last similar Vatican exhibition took place on the 500th anniversary of Raphael's birth in 1983, when ten main tapestries were shown.

Tapestries to enhance Michelangelo's fresco

Visitors can admire these masterpieces very recently restored by experts from the Vatican Museums. These tapestries, representing the Acts of the Apostles, were commissioned by Pope Leo X (1513-1521) to sublimate the fresco of Michelangelo while completing the religious message of the building. Raphael is a universal artist who has provided Western figurative art with supreme models of beauty, says Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums. The Italian painter has never seen the whole series of tapestries. Seven of them were hung in December 1519, and the other five were completed after Raphael's death. The weavers of the Flemish workshop Pieter van Aelst who used the painter's cartons to create these large pieces made of silk, wool, and gold and silver threads, made the tapestries between 1515 and 1521. After February 23, one of the tapestries will be exhibited in the stables of the Quirinal Palace in Rome, while another will be presented at the National Gallery in London.

Connaissance des arts

Raphael tapestries . Vatican photography