JUST TOO COOL: All 12 Raphael Tapestries back in the Sistine Chapel

For your Just Too Cool file.

For the first time in centuries all 12 tapestries commission by Leo X and designed by Raphael are back in the Sistine Chapel where they belong. For a week only.

The 12 tapestries were being restored at the Vatican Museum over the last 10 years. They are being displayed together before they are again scattered.  From The Times…

This is rather cool.  A video on Twitter.



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  1. JustaSinner says:

    Why are they being scattered?

  2. Spinmamma says:

    Wow indeed. I learn so much from this wonderful blog.

  3. Charles E Flynn says:

    From All Raphael’s tapestries return to Sistine Chapel after centuries:

    Seven of the tapestries, commissioned by Pope Leo X, were hung in the chapel on St Stephen’s day, December 26, 1519. Raphael was probably there to see them but he died four months later at the age of 37. The others were finished after his death.

    “The last record that we have of all of them being hung in the Sistine is from the late 1500s,” Alessandra Rodolfo, the curator of the exhibition, told Reuters.

    Previous exhibitions, some of which lasted only a few hours or a day, included only the 10 larger tapestries, some measuring about six by five metres. Two of the 12 are narrow and hung vertically as borders.

    A selection are normally on display on rotation behind glass in climate-controlled spaces in the Vatican Museums.

  4. roma247 says:

    @JustaSinner: for the same reason that relics such as the bones of St. Peter are being given away, and the same reason that the precious souls of Catholics are being scattered to the four winds…

  5. Prayerful says:

    Oh to be there. The Sistine Chapel is astonishing even without them. Photos don’t do it justice.

  6. JustaSinner says:

    Aaahhh…now I understand. Here I thought there was logic behind it.

  7. teomatteo says:

    I always feel the wonder of the whole catholic life when these beautiful items are viewed. They belong to humanity – as our faith does as well. When I look at some of my now grown children’s artwork that they made for me when they were young. How our God looks at these things the same way (or maybe not sentimental like a poor sap like me.)

  8. KateD says:


    OMGosh! I just read! They were given to the Orthodox?!? How is that even POSSIBLE?!? This is more upsetting that just about anything else I’ve heard about this pontificate.


    They BELONG beneath the altar at Saint Peter’s! That was the beauty when they were found….

    “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18.

    They CANNOT interfere with what Christ Himself established! What person, especially a Catholic, would be so foolish as to move them? The Orthodox should keep them until there is a new pope and then give them back. It is wrong for them to keep them away from where Jesus determined the Rock should be.

    And I’m a little confused, because when we were in the Scavi we came to a point where the guide said, “And here we have graffiti and there are the bones of Saint Peter. Now if you will please exit this way….”. And I said, “Wait a minute. Hold up! Did you just say those are the bones of Saint Peter right there?!?” And Inlointed to the little plastic box. “Yes. Now if you’ll follow me”. I said, “I’m sorry ma’am, you will have to wait or go on with out me. I am going to stop and pray for a bit if those are the bones of Peter”. And I hit my knees and several other people in our group did as well and we prayed some impromptu prayers….I mean what do you say at such a moment? So deep and rich. How many Christian pilgrims had traveled from all over the globe for 2000 years to be standing at that very site! That’s a rather heady moment. When one is within a foot of the bones of Saint Peter?!? “Ma’am, I must insist. The next tour is coming”. And we finished our prayers and continued the tour.

    Was she wrong? That was in March of 2005 right before Pope Saint John Paul II died. It wasn’t an ornate reliquary, it was just like a rather smallish plastic box stuck into the rocks and behind like plexiglass maybe? It was incredibly non-descript. She said they had sent samples for DNA analysis and their best guess was that they were Saint Peters bones…because of the graffiti, where they were found, etc. Something about the number of graves surrounding it and that graves had been moved over the millennia so others could be buried closer to the one where these bones were found.

    I had the impression those were all of the fragments.

    Stranger and stranger….

  9. KateD says:

    *I pointed

  10. JonPatrick says:

    I wonder if removing the tapestries is just so that they can be preserved. I;m sure being out in the Rome air instead of a climate controlled location is not good for them.

    This fall we are planning to be in Rome for 3 days (I know, not long enough) and the Sistine Chapel is #1 on our list of sites to see.

  11. KateD says:


    Sorry about the freak out.

    According to a guide purchased at the Vatican bookstore (ROMA SACRA: Soprintendenza Per i Beni Artistici e Storici di Roma, Itinerary 25; April 2003) with a letter of introduction by Bishop Vittorio Lanznai. In the section regarding the discription of the grafiti wall on page 63 it says:

    “In 1968, ninteen transparent reliquaries with the bones attributed to Saint Peter on the basis of research carried out by Margherita Guarducci, were located in that niche. Paul VI Montini (1963-1978) instructed that nine fragments of those bones be preserved in a silver reliquary that has the following inscription on the cover: EX OSSIBUSQUAE/IN ARCHIBASILICAE VATICANAE/HYPOGEO INVENTA B(EATI) PETRI AP(OSTOLI)/ESSE PUTANTUR. (“From the bones that, discovered under the Vatican arch-basilica, are believed to be those of the blessed Apostle Peter”).”

    If that silver reliquary is what was given to the Orthodox Church one could assume? we still have 10 bone fragments. Nonetheless….


    ????[??]/?? ??????

    “Peter is here” “Peter in Peace”
    Either way you want to read it, Peter should be left there in Peter’s Tomb, beneath the Altar of Clement VIII and beneath Bernini’s Baldachin in peace and certainly not given to the Church in schism, as if there is a shared (bifurcated?) authority….ahhhh

    ….hmmm, wait a minute….

    Seriously, despite any questions in the minds of some faithful regarding the well deserved and hard won retirement of our previous pope, Pope Benedict XVI, we now have one and only one pope, and that is Pope Francis. Like him, don’t like him, doesn’t mater. This is where the rubber meets the pavement. There is only one head of the One Church established by Jesus Christ. That head sits on the Chair of Peter. I hope this act of Pope Francis was an inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the eventual preservation of the Church in advance of some as of yet unforeseen catastrophic event and not a rash action borne of sentimentality and too much “good feeling”.

    As for the tapestries, it would be wonderful to be able to be in that room while they are all there! Oh my goodness! Once in a lifetime…or in almost anyone’s lifetime. I wish they could remain where they were intended to be (in climate controlled uv protected transparent cases)….but again….for the same reason family members should not all fly on the same plane….and perhaps why half of Peter’s bones were (gut wrenchingly) given to the Orthodox….certainly it is safer to have the tapestries housed separately. While it would be tragic to lose any, stuff happens (ie, Notre Dame), and it would be worse to lose them all.

  12. KateD says:

    * ????/?????
    apparently that script is all Greek to the system.

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