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

The Fire in the Borgo (detail)

Stanza dell'Incendio di Borgo, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

This detail of the fresco shows the old Saint Peter's Basilica.

In addition to the impressive architectonic settings that Raphael invented to stage his narrative scenes, he would sometimes include depictions of buildings that accurately render a portrait of a particular structure. Among the most studied is the view of old Saint Peter's found in the middle ground of the Fire in the Borgo. This detail is a precious record that portrays the basilica before its destruction, a process in which Raphael himself was implicated, as overseer of the rebuilding during the very time that he designed the fresco.