Five hundred years after the death of Raphael, his tapestries return to the Sistine Chapel
Five hundred years after the death of Raphael, his tapestries return to the Sistine Chapel

Five hundred years after the death of Raphael, his tapestries return to the Sistine Chapel

17 - 23 February 2020
Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums

From 17 to 23 February the Sistine Chapel, the ancient Cappella Magna, will host the key event in the celebrations of Raphael held in the Vatican to mark the fifth centenary of the death of the master of Urbino: just one week to admire, during the usual opening hours and included in the entrance ticket, the extraordinary exhibition, in the original setting for which they were conceived, of the series of tapestries of the Acts of the Apostles produced on the basis of preparatory drawings and cartoons by Raphael Sanzio.

This demanding yet evocative project, carried out with the curatorship of Alessandra Rodolfo (Director of the Department of Tapestries and Textiles and of the Department of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Art of the Vatican Museums) puts on display for the first time all the tapestries of the Vatican collections, designed by the Divin pittore: ten masterpieces, five metres long and four metres high, woven by sophisticated means in Brussels, in the workshop of the renowned weaver Pieter van Aelst, between 1515 and 1521.

On the special occasion of the “Anno Sanzio”, the precious artefacts – commissioned to Raphael by Pope Leo X to adorn the Papal Chapel in the lower area of the walls painted with false curtains – will be affixed for seven days using the original sixteenth-century hooks, evoking the ancient custom.
It is a very rare occasion, considering that the refined tapestries are usually conserved in the Vatican Pinacoteca, in the famous Hall VIII also known as the Raphael Hall, where they are displayed in rotation for reasons linked to their conservation.
The Pope’s Museums therefore invites visitors to share in the unique nature of this event and also to make the most of the free Sunday opening, making this singular beauty accessible to all.