Transfiguration (1516-1520)

THE TRANSFIGURATION Vatican Gallery, Rome

A picture divided into two parts

The Transfiguration is considered the last painting by the Italian High Renaissance master Raphael. It was left unfinished by Raphael, and is believed to have been completed by his pupil, Giulio Romano, shortly after Raphael‘s death in 1520. The picture is now housed in the Pinacoteca Vaticana of the Vatican Museum.

The composition is divided in two distinct parts, relating to successive episodes of the Gospel of Matthew. The upper part of the painting shows the Transfiguration itself (on Mount Tabor, according to tradition), with the transfigured Christ floating in front of softly illuminated clouds, between the prophets Moses and Elijah with whom he is discoursing as recorded in the account of Matthew.

In the lower part, Raphael depicts the Apostles attempting, unsuccessfully, to free the possessed boy of his demonic possession. They are unable to cure the sick child until the arrival of the recently-transfigured Christ, who performs a miracle.

The sixteenth century painter and biographer, Giorgio Vasari, wrote in his Lives of the Artists that the Transfiguration was Raphael‘s “most beautiful and most divine” work.

Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520)

Raphael was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings and drawings. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino 1483-1520 08 Signature.jpg
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