(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple

Fresco, width at the base 750 cm
Stanza di Eliodoro, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

In the Stanza di Eliodoro Raphael enhances his compositions by breaking up the symmetry and the enclosed rhythm of the Stanza della Segnatura with more lively and colourful effects. These trends appear first in the Expulsion of Heliodorus.

The focal point of the scene is no longer at the centre. Rather, it is shifted to the right. Here Heliodorus and his followers, profaning the Temple of Jerusalem, are driven out by an armed rider and by two running figures. In the depiction of the rider and the two hovering youths, Raphael follows the text from Maccabees in the Apocrypha exactly. The horse owes a debt to Leonardo's design for the Battle of Anghiari in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

In the centre, the expanse of the wide nave, illuminated by the reflections of light in the vault, is a more effective space-determining motif than the large patches of blue sky which appeared through the coffered ceiling in the School of Athens.

At the extreme left, Pope Julius II dominates the bystanders, and he reappears in subsequent scenes as well.

Raphael's new compositional formula, so unexpected after the extremely controlled compositions of the Stanza della Segnatura, is visible in all its dynamic evidence from this fresco onward.