Raphael: The Mass at Bolsena (1512)

(Apostolic Palace, Rome, Vatican City)

A fresco from the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican by the Italian master Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael, (1483-1520). Raphael was commissioned to decorate a series of rooms in the palace with frescoes and this one is in the room known as 'Stanza di Eliodoro'. named after a fresco in that room. This fresco shows a miracle which took place in 1263. A Bohemian priest doubted the doctrine of transubstantiation. When the priest was celebrating mass at Bolsena, the bread of the eucharist began to bleed and fell onto the tablecloth in the shape of a cross. Raphael has depicted Pope Julius II (1443–1513) kneeling in front of the altar. Also present on the fre sco is the illegitimate daughter of Pope Julius II, Felice della Rovere. She is in black clothes, kneeling at the bottom of the steps on the left. The group in the right corner is the Swiss Guard. Raphael has incuded himself as as a member of the Guard - he is third from right, kneeling and looking towards us. Fresco from 1512.

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