The Aesthetic Evolution of Raphael at Vatican Museums

One of the best examples of the gradual evolution of Raphael’s style can be found in the Papal Apartments of the Vatican.

Four magnificent rooms known as “Le Stanze di Raffaello”  that were the Papal residence between 1507-1585.



Though the order of the rooms does not reflect  the chronology of when Raphael created the frescos, viewers can appreciate the ever changing  style of Raphael as executed into each scene. Influences of great artists such as Bramante, Michelangelo and Leonardo are evident while still maintaining the artist’s personal touch.

The first room that can be visited is the Room of Costantine, dedicated to the life of the first Christian Emperor who symbolically donated the city of Rome to the Pope in charge during his time, Pope Sylvester I and his successors . Even if this room carries an important meaning, it is the last room that Raphael painted, therefore only the preparatory cartoons were executed by the artist himself while the majority of the painting was carried out by his pupils due to Raphael’s premature death.

The second room is the Room of Heliodorus. The frescos were created towards the end of his career between 1511-1514, about 6 years before his death. The most impressive artistic achievement in this room is the Liberation of S. Peter. In this scene Raphael masters his ability to depict glowing and moving light, working in a medium that  does not allow the gradual manipulation of colors.

Effects of this kind were unparallel by Raphael’s contemporaries until the arrival of Caravaggio almost 100 years later. The frescos in this room also reflects Raphael’s observation of Michelangelo’s style in the Sistine Chapel. In fact the two artists were working in the Vatican at the same time.

The muscular density and powerful solidarity that classifies Michelangelo’s figures are borrowed by Raphael beginning with the School of Athens in the following room.

The Room of the Signature is perhaps the most celebrated works of Raphael’s career. With respect to the chronology of the artist, we are actually moving back in time, viewing the first room that he was commissioned to paint at the young age of 25.

A clear transition  in Raphael’s style is evident in viewing the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament and the School of Athens side by side.  In the latter painting is where we also see an homage to Raphael’s biggest rival. The representation of a philosopher, Heraclitus with the resemblance of  Michelangelo is prove of Raphael’s admiration for his contemporary. After seeing his masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo became an idol for the young artist.

The last part of the tour shows the forth room, which lends its name to a fire that broke out in the 9th Century in a neighborhood of the Vatican called the Borgo.

Let StefanoRomeTours and their team of licensed tour guides take you back in time to relive the crucial moments that marked Raphael’s career. This description only scratches the surface of the many historically nuances that are present in Raphael’s frescos.

Do you have any favorite artists or pieces of art inside the Vatican Museum? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.


Thank you for stopping by and reading our blog.

with love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team 


Visit our Vatican Tour






Christian Rome – Day tour in Rome

A visit to Rome would not be complete without a tour of some of the city’s best known Christian monuments and landmarks, which include the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Wall and of course the Vatican, home to St. Peter’s Basilica.




Our Christian Rome Tour available as a day tour from Rome or a shore excursion from Civitavecchia, will introduce you to the main points of interest that made Rome the centre of Christianity, and you will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Saints, Popes, and ancient Romans who have contributed to what Rome is today.

Due to magnificent architecture, world famous paintings and sculptures, as well as remarkable frescoes, as all of these spiritually significant sites have a very important and interesting history and are part of Italy’s cultural heritage.



We start at the Circus Maximus, the enormous ancient Roman stadium at the foot of Palatine Hill where the chariot races took place (think Ben Hur).


From here, we continue to one of the four great basilicas of Rome, St. Paul Outside-the-Wall, which was built by Emperor Constantine and said to be located above the burial ground of Saint Paul.



Continuing along the Appian Way, the 2000-year old road that leads to Apulia and Brindisi and where Spartacus and his army were crucified, we will make our way to the ancient catacombs. It is here where the early Christians would bury their dead or hold church services out of sight from the public, due to a fear of persecution.

Before stopping off for some lunch we will continue the tour to Piazza Venezia and the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, which was dedicated to the first king of Italy.

After enjoying a delicious traditional Roman lunch it is now time to head towards the Vatican, noted as one of the world’s smallest states and more importantly home to the Pope and the Catholic Church.

You will be given the chance to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with its amazing ceiling painted by Michelangelo. After viewing the masterpieces found in the Vatican, the tour will take us to the Pantheon, once the temple to all Roman gods, it remains one of the best preserved Roman buildings.

Just around the corner from here is our penultimate destination, the city’s largest Baroque fountain, the instantly recognisable Trevi Fountain, where visitors throw in a coin to be assured of a return visit to Rome.

Our tour finally ends at the Spanish Steps, where you can take a rest and enjoy a tasty Italian gelato before we set off back home.

Please don’t forget: To enter any of the churches in Rome, you will have to have your shoulders and knees covered, otherwise you will be refused entry!

Tour Highlights
Circus Maximus :: St. Paul Outside the Wall Church :: Appian Way :: Catacombs :: Vittorio Emanuele Monument :: Vatican Museum :: Sistine Chapel :: St. Peter’s Basilica
Pick up time: approximately 9.00am
Return time: approximately 5.00pm
Full tour details can be found here:    

We look forward to seeing you in Rome!

with love,

the Stefano Rome Tours team