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

Loggia of Pope Leo X (second floor)

1518-19
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Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

According to Vasari, Raphael's pupils - among them Giulio Romano, Gianfrancesco Penni, Vincenzo Tamagni, Perin del Vaga and Polidoro da Caravaggio - executed the cycle of the Bible stories. The Gallery was planned by Raphael, who also designed a decorative cycle of grotesques and stucco reliefs. The latter were executed according to the ancient technique studied during the excavation of the Domes Aurea. The Bible Stories occupied Raphael's workshop from 1518 to 1519. They are renown both for their pictorial value and for the influence they had on later decorative cycles.

The Biblical episodes were painted in the ceiling vaults, within differently shaped frames. Together they form a swarm of figures, isolated and in groups, arranged in an extraordinary variety of compositions and poses. This style gave rise to lively and refined images packed with allusions, symbols and allegories, and often inspired by literary texts. It soon became an international movement. It was used with, or instead of, the classicising tendency from which it originated, throughout the 16th century.