By Christopher Wells
This week, as part of the celebrations commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of the famous Renaissance artist Raphael Sanzio, the Vatican Museums will be hosting an extraordinary exhibit: for the first time, the tapestries designed by Raphael for the Sistine Chapel are being displayed in the original location for which they were intended.
The ten tapestries depict events from the lives of Saints Peter and Paul, and were woven in the famous workshop of Pieter van Aelst in Brussels, following painted designs – known as cartoons – by Raphael. Seven of the original cartoons are extant, preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; while the tapestries themselves are normally displayed on a rotating basis in the so-called “Raphael Room” in the Vatican Museums.
For the exhibition in the Sistine Chapel, all ten tapestries will be displayed on their original sixteenth-century hooks.
This one of a kind event will be open to the public, during normal Museum hours, for just one week, 17-23 February.