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

View of the south wall

1510-11
Fresco
Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

On the south wall of the Stanza della Segnatura the following scenes are depicted: Emperor Justinian Receives the Corpus Iuris Civilis (left); Pope Gregory IX Approving the Decretals (right); Fortitudo, Prudentia, Temperantia (lunette).

On the wall to the left of the window there is a dedication scene with Emperor Justinian shown surrounded by many jurist as he receives from Tribonian the Pandects (digests) of the corpus iuris civilis (Corpus of Civil Laws). Raphael had sketched this fresco, but its execution was entrusted to Lorenzo Lotto. Civil law is juxtaposed with religious law to the right of the window: Gregory IX approves the collection of decretals made by Raymond Penaforte. The historical pope is actually a portrait of the pope who commissioned the work, Julius II, alongside other members of the College of Cardinals: Giiovanni de' Medici and Alessandro Farnese are the throne assistants, and Cardinal del Monte is at far left. A homogenous architectural background joins the two scenes of the law. Resting on this structure, against an open sky, are Fortitude, Prudence, and Temperance, personifications that join with the Justice depicted on the ceiling to form the group of cardinal virtues. The three represented virtues belong to the qualities of the just judge, the just ruler. Prudence deserves the highest seat, she must guide the deployment of Fortitude and Temperance.




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