Raphael tapestries return to Sistine Chapel

Raphael's tapestries will hang under Michelangelo's frescoes for one week.

For one week the great tapestries designed by Raphael will return to the Sistine Chapel as the Vatican celebrates the 500th anniversary of the death of the High Renaissance master.

The 10 tapestries, which will be hung at eye level along the chapel's wall under Michelangelo's frescoed ceiling, will be on display from 17-23 February 2020.

Raphael tapestries return to Sistine Chapel

Commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515, the tapestries' designs, or cartoons as they were known, depict the lives of Saints Peter and Paul.

They were completed by Raphael while he was busy decorating the Stanze (also called the Raphael Rooms), presiding over the construction of St Peter’s Basilica, and painting portraits and altarpieces.

The tapestries, which are normally preserved in the Vatican's Pinacoteca, were woven over a four-year period in Brussels, using silk, wool and gilded silver thread.

Raphael tapestries return to Sistine Chapel

Apart from a few hours on 14 July 2010, when four of the 10 tapestries were shown briefly in the Sistine Chapel, the series of tapestries was displayed there just once - for one week in 1983 - on the 500th anniversary of Raphael's birth.

Entry to the Vatican Museums will be free on 23 February, in what is likely to be the last chance to see the tapestries in the Sistine Chapel for a very long time.

Raphael 500 celebrations

Rome is playing a central role in the world's 2020 celebration of Raphael, who spent the last decade of his life in the Eternal City.

A blockbuster show at the Scuderie del Quirinale will feature 200 masterpieces - at least 100 of them by Raphael - in what is being described by Italy's culture ministry as an "unprecedented" exhibition.

On each day of 2020, Italy is placing a red rose on the tomb of Raphael who died aged 37 and is buried in the Pantheon.

For details of where to find Raphael's art in Rome and Vatican City, see our guide. Photo Il Messaggero.

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Address 00120, Vatican City

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Raphael tapestries return to Sistine Chapel

00120, Vatican City

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Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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