Vatican City Arts

Palace of Niccolò III. – In 1924 the remains of decorative duc-century frescoes were found under the floor of the so-called Chiaroscuri room. In 1940 other important remains of paintings of the same style and of the same period were found under the floor of the room of the archives, in the rooms located above the Chiaroscuri, belonging to the Secretariat of State, adjacent to the first arm of the third Loggia. These fragments have made it possible to demonstrate that the entire eastern wing of the Vatican residence of Niccolò III, Orsini, built around 1278, as the Capitoline epigraph indicates, was preserved more or less intact, on its two floors, behind the Logge with which first Bramante, and then Raffaello, had covered it to please the taste of the Renaissance. According to A2zgov, these results have been confirmed by new findings of duc-century paintings, always of a decorative nature, as a consequence of the restorations undertaken during 1948 in the rooms adjacent to the Hall of the Paraments, on the first floor of the building, under that of the Chiaroscuri. During the works, a tufa walled tower was also found, probably military, datable to the first half of the 13th century, and therefore anterior to the building of Niccolò III, but later included in the palace of this pope and decorated in those years of decorative frescoes. The chapel called Beato Angelico, or Niccolò V, is located in the room corresponding to the top two floors of the tower itself.

Chapel of Nicholas Vatican – During the restoration and consolidation work still in progress (1949) in the chapel of Niccolò V (also known as of Beato Angelico), it was possible to find under the sixteenth-century plinth with the emblems of Gregory XIII, the original one by Angelico, formed by a series of painted carpets, decorated with graceful floral motifs and the coat of arms of Niccolò Vatican

Niccolò V’s bedroom. – In a small room adjacent to the room called della Falda, communicating with the first room of the Vestments, on the first floor of the Vatican Palace, during the restoration work in 1949, a painted wooden ceiling was found, with the weapons of Niccolò V, decorated in the center with a figure of St. Peter, with a golden halo, of good fifteenth-century hand.

Loggetta by Raphael. – In 1943, during some building works carried out on the premises of the Secretariat of State, a small loggia was discovered which had been walled up in the 18th century. and in. which one can recognize an unknown architectural work by Raffaello d ‘Urbino, frescoed by his aides and pupils, under his direction. It is a rectangular room of m. 3, 12 × 15.74, high m. 4.64 at the top of the barrel vault with lunettes, built close to the third Loggia, in its last stretch protruding as a spur towards St. Peter’s Square. On the external wall, overlooking the small courtyard called the Marshal, there are three large round arches, with balustrades with peperino columns, interspersed with four smaller ones, like windows, according to a well-known Bramante scheme. All ‘ outside were the remains of Tuscan-style cornices and pilasters, also in peperino, and above the windows appeared rectangular recesses destined to break the geometric symmetry of the façade with their shaded areas. It seems probable that the year 1516 is dated, in which Raphael built, on that same floor, the so-called “Stufetta” for Cardinal Bibbiena, and some passages of the correspondence between these and Bembo have made us suppose (A. Prandi) that the Loggetta  was part of that cardinal’s Vatican apartment. The frescoes were being painted in 1519, and Michiel, in a letter dated May 4th of that year, attributes them to Raphael.

The pictorial decoration of the Loggetta (poorly preserved and partly destroyed) is identical in style to that of the second Loggia; however, there is a lack of stuccoes, and everything seems of a simpler but also more spontaneous manufacture (that gallery was, in fact, intended exclusively for the pope, who kept his collections of “antiques” there). The general scheme is very sober: four large niches with a purple background contain the painted statues of the seasons; between them you can see three panted tablets with a black background with episodes from the myth of Apollo and Marsyas, and all around the whimsical spirals of the grotesque interspersed with imaginative aedicules painted according to the classic models of the Domus Aurea, then recently discovered. on the small entrance door there are some dancers under an aerial temple, and on the other a forge of volcano. The different hands are distinguished very well: Penni are the Seasons and, perhaps, the forge of volcano; by Giulio Romano the squares with the myth of Apollo and Marsyas, copied from the paintings of a destroyed Roman columbarium, but of which the drawings in cod. Pighianus of the Berlin Library; the grotesques are largely due to Giovanni da Udine, but some figurines can be attributed to Pierin del Vaga (for example, the spinners and some scenes of sacrifices), and others to Giulio Romano (some winged genius). The latter are also the dancers above the entrance door. The majolica floor, of Arabic-Spanish type, could be attributed to Luca della Robbia the Younger.

Vatican City Arts