Raphael & Giulio Romano: The fire in the Borgo (1514-1517)

(Vatican, Rome, Italy)

A fresco by the Italian master Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 – 1520) and Giulio Romano (1499-1546). This fresco is part of Raphael's commission of the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The fresco is located in the room that was named after it, the Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo ("The Room of the Fire in the Borgo"). The depicted scene comes from the Liber Pontificalis (a collection of early papal biographies) and is a large fire which ravaged the borgo, the pilgrims' district of Rome adjacent to the saint Peter's church, in the year 847. According to the story Pope Leo IV managed miraculously to halt the raging fire, which was threatening the city, by his benediction from the Loggia of Blessings of the Old Saint Peter's - saving the people and the church. Pope Leo IV, a portrait of pope Leo X, can be seen in the background appearing in the loggia above the text LEO PP IIII (= Leo IV, Papa). The building in the background next to pope Leo IV is the façade of old Saint Peter's church - one of the few visual representations of this church (the current Saint Peter's church was build in its place in 1506-1626). Raphael made the design of this fresco but it was probably painted by his assistant Giulio Romano. Fresco from 1514-1517.