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

The Mass at Bolsena (detail)

Stanza di Eliodoro, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

Julius II had founded the Swiss Guard as a military elite in May 1510, and granted them the distinction of their own costume. The Guard had played a vital role in a victory over French forces, who had occupied parts of the Papal State. The pope was probably bestowing an honour on them for that loyal service by letting Raphael portray some of their important representatives in the fresco, thus giving them pride of place in his audience chamber.