Apostolic Palace

Last updated
  • Apostolic Palace
  • Palazzo Apostolico (Italian)
Apostolic Palace 2014.jpg
Apostolic Palace
Alternative names
  • Palace of Sixtus V
  • Palace of the Vatican
  • Papal Palace
General information
TypeOfficial residence
CountryFlag of the Vatican City.svg   Vatican City
Coordinates 41°54′13″N012°27′23″E / 41.90361°N 12.45639°E / 41.90361; 12.45639 Coordinates: 41°54′13″N012°27′23″E / 41.90361°N 12.45639°E / 41.90361; 12.45639
Construction started30 April 1589 [1]

The Apostolic Palace (Latin : Palatium Apostolicum; Italian : Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the pope, the head of the Catholic Church, located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Papal Palace, the Palace of the Vatican and the Vatican Palace. The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V, in honor of Pope Sixtus V, who built most of the present form of the palace. [2]

Contents

The Portone di Bronzo at the Vatican Apostolic Palace entrance. 0 Gardes suisses - Porte de bronze - Entree du Palais apostolique du Vatican.JPG
The Portone di Bronzo at the Vatican Apostolic Palace entrance.

The building contains the papal apartments, various offices of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, private and public chapels, Vatican Museums, and the Vatican Library, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and Borgia Apartment. The modern tourist can see these last and other parts of the palace, but other parts, such as the Sala Regia (Regal Room) and Cappella Paolina, had long been closed to tourists, though the Sala Regia allowed occasional tourism by 2019. The Scala Regia (Regal Staircase) can be viewed from one end and used to enter the Sala Regia. [3] The Cappella Paolina remains closed to tourists.

History

In the 5th century, Pope Symmachus built a papal palace close to the Old St. Peter's Basilica which served an alternative residence to the Lateran Palace. The construction of a second fortified palace was sponsored by Pope Eugene III and extensively modified under Pope Innocent III in the twelfth century. [4]

Upon returning to Rome in 1377 after the interlude of the Avignon Papacy, which saw Rome subject to civil unrest and the abandonment of several Christian monuments, the popes chose to reside first at Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere and then at Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The Vatican Palace had fallen into disrepair from lack of upkeep, and the Lateran Palace underwent two destructive fires, in 1307 and 1361, which resulted in irreparable harm. [5] In 1447, Pope Nicholas V razed the ancient fortified palace of Eugene III to erect a new building, the current Apostolic Palace. [6]

In the 15th century, the palace was placed under the authority of a prefect. This position of Apostolic Prefect lasted from the 15th century until the 1800s, when the Papal States fell into economic difficulties. In 1884, when this post was reviewed in light of saving money, Pope Leo XIII created a committee to administer the palace. [7]

The major additions and decorations of the palace are the work of the following popes for 150 years. Construction of the current version of the palace began on 30 April 1589 [1] under Pope Sixtus V and its various intrinsic parts were completed by later successors, Pope Urban VII, Pope Innocent XI and Pope Clement VIII. In the 20th century, Pope Pius XI built a monumental art gallery and museum entrance.

Construction of the Papal Palace (also known as the Apostolic Palace or Vatican Palace) at the Vatican in Vatican City, took place mainly between 1471 and 1605. Covering 162,000 square metres (1,743,753 square feet), it contains the papal apartments, offices of the Roman Catholic Church and Holy See, chapels, Vatican Library, museums and art galleries. [8]

Structure

A model of the palace in the Vatican Museums. The buildings are arranged around a central courtyard. Apostolic Palace model.jpg
A model of the palace in the Vatican Museums. The buildings are arranged around a central courtyard.

The Apostolic Palace is run by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household. The palace is more accurately a series of self-contained buildings within the well-recognized outer structure which is arranged around the Courtyard of Sixtus V (Cortile di Sisto V). It is located northeast of St Peter's Basilica and adjacent to the Bastion of Nicholas V and Palace of Gregory XIII.

The Apostolic Palace houses both residential and support offices of various functions as well as administrative offices not focused on the life and functions of the pope himself.

Sistine Chapel

Under the patronage of Julius II, Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. Musei vaticani, cappella sistina, retro 02.JPG
Under the patronage of Julius II, Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512.

Perhaps the best known of the palace chapels is the Sistine Chapel named in honor of Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere). It is famous for its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and others.

One of the primary functions of the chapel is as a venue for the election of each successive pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. In this closed-door election, the cardinals choose a successor to the traditionally first pope, St. Peter, who is traditionally buried in the crypts of nearby St. Peter's Church.

Raphael Rooms

The Stanza della Segnatura Raffael Stanza della Segnatura.jpg
The Stanza della Segnatura

This suite of rooms is famous for its frescos by a large team of artists working under Raphael. They were originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II. He commissioned Raphael, then a relatively young artist from Urbino, and his studio in 1508 or 1509 to redecorate the existing interiors of the rooms entirely. It was possibly Julius' intent to outshine the apartments of his predecessor (and rival) Pope Alexander VI, as the Stanze are directly above Alexander's Borgia Apartments. They are on the third floor, overlooking the south side of the Belvedere Courtyard.

From east to west, as a visitor would have entered the apartment, but reversing the sequence in which the Stanze were frescoed, and also the route of the modern visitor, the rooms are the Sala di Constantino ("Hall of Constantine"), the Stanza di Eliodoro ("Room of Heliodorus"), the Stanza della Segnatura (the earliest and the most admired) ("Room of the Signature") and the Stanza dell'Incendio del Borgo ("The Room of the Fire in the Borgo").

After the death of Julius in 1513, with two rooms frescoed, Pope Leo X continued the program. Following Raphael's death in 1520, his assistants Gianfrancesco Penni, Giulio Romano and Raffaellino del Colle finished the project with the frescoes in the Sala di Costantino.

Borgia Apartments

The Borgia Apartments is a suite of rooms in the palace adapted for personal use by Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo de Borja). He commissioned the Italian painter Pinturicchio to lavishly decorate the apartments with frescoes.

The paintings and frescoes, which were executed between 1492 and 1494, drew on a complex iconographic program that used themes from medieval encyclopedias, adding an eschatological layer of meaning and celebrating the supposedly divine origins of the Borgias. [9]

The rooms are variously considered a part of the Vatican Library and Vatican Museums. Some of the rooms are now used for the Vatican Collection of Modern Religious Art, inaugurated by Pope Paul VI in 1973.

Clementine Hall

The Clementine Hall was established in the 16th century by Pope Clement VIII in honor of Pope Clement I, the third pope. Like other chapels and apartments in the palace, the hall is notable for its large collection of frescos and other art.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 The lives of the modern painters, sculptors and architects – Giovanni Pietro Bellori
  2. Vatican Press Office guide – buildings of the Vatican Archived May 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Vatican's Apostolic Palace Tour". Viator.com. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  4. "Le Palais du Vatican" [Palace of the Vatican] (in French). Rome Découverte. Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  5. Pedro Tafur, Andanças e viaje (in Spanish)
  6. Müntz, Eugène (1878). Les arts à la cour des Papes pendant le XVe et le XVIe siècle (in French). Georg Olms Verlag. ISBN   9783487413006 . Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  7. Levillain 2002, pp. 1093–1094.
  8. Glenday, Craig (2013). Guinness Book of World Records. p.  155. ISBN   978-1-908843-15-9.
  9. Krén, Emil; Marx, Daniel. "Frescoes in the Borgia Apartments of the Palazzi Pontifici in Vatican". Web Gallery of Art. Retrieved 14 August 2013.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sistine Chapel</span> Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope in Vatican City. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who had it built between 1473 and 1481. Since that time, the chapel has served as a place of both religious and functionary papal activity. Today, it is the site of the papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected. The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the frescoes that decorate the interior, most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment, both by Michelangelo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vatican Museums</span> Museums of the Vatican City

The Vatican Museums are the public museums of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries, including several of the most well-known Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pinturicchio</span> Italian painter (1454–1513)

Pinturicchio, or Pintoricchio, also known as Benetto di Biagio or Sordicchio, was an Italian painter during the Renaissance. He acquired his nickname because of his small stature and he used it to sign some of his artworks that were created during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antonio da Sangallo the Younger</span> Italian architect

Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, also known as Antonio da San Gallo, was an Italian architect active during the Renaissance, mainly in Rome and the Papal States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lateran Palace</span> Ancient palace of the Roman Empire and the main papal residence in Rome

The Lateran Palace, formally the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran, is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome.

<i>Raphael Rooms</i> Rooms in the Vatican painted by Raphael

The four Raphael Rooms form a suite of reception rooms in the Apostolic Palace, now part of the Vatican Museums, in Vatican City. They are famous for their frescoes, painted by Raphael and his workshop. Together with Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes, they are the grand fresco sequences that mark the High Renaissance in Rome.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Santa Maria del Popolo</span> Church in Rome, Italy

The Parish Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is a titular church and a minor basilica in Rome run by the Augustinian order. It stands on the north side of Piazza del Popolo, one of the most famous squares in the city. The church is hemmed in between the Pincian Hill and Porta del Popolo, one of the gates in the Aurelian Wall as well as the starting point of Via Flaminia, the most important route from the north. Its location made the basilica the first church for the majority of travellers entering the city. The church contains works by several famous artists, such as Raphael, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Alessandro Algardi, Pinturicchio, Andrea Bregno, Guillaume de Marcillat and Donato Bramante.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Borgia Apartments</span>

The Borgia Apartments are a suite of rooms in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, adapted for personal use by Pope Alexander VI. In the late 15th century, he commissioned the Italian painter Bernardino di Betto (Pinturicchio) and his studio to decorate them with frescoes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cappella Paolina</span>

The Cappella Paolina is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City. It is separated from the Sistine Chapel by the Sala Regia. It is not on any of the regular tourist itineraries.

<i>Disputation of the Holy Sacrament</i> Fresco by Raphael

The Disputation of the Sacrament, or Disputa, is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1510 as the first part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. At the time, this room was known as the Stanza della Segnatura, and was the private papal library where the supreme papal tribunal met.

<i>Deliverance of Saint Peter</i>

The Liberation of Saint Peter is a fresco painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted in 1514 as part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. It is located in the Stanza di Eliodoro, which is named after The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple. The painting shows how Saint Peter was liberated from Herod's prison by an angel, as described in Acts 12. It is technically an overdoor.

<i>The Fire in the Borgo</i> Fresco by Raphael

The Fire in the Borgo is a painting created by the workshop of the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael between 1514 and 1517. Though it is assumed that Raphael did make the designs for the complex composition, the fresco was most likely painted by his assistant Giulio Romano. The painting was part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. It depicts Pope Leo IV halting a fire in 847 with a benediction from a balcony in front of the Old St. Peter's Basilica. The mural lends its name to the Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sala Regia (Vatican)</span>

The Sala Regia is a state hall in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Art patronage of Julius II</span>

Pope Julius II, commissioned a series of highly influential art and architecture projects in the Vatican. The painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo and of various rooms by Raphael in the Apostolic Palace are considered among the masterworks that mark the High Renaissance in Rome. His decision to rebuild St Peter's led to the construction of the present basilica.

<i>The Meeting of Leo the Great and Attila</i> Painting by Raphael

The Meeting of Leo I and Attila is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted from 1513 to 1514 as part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. It is located in the Stanza di Eliodoro, which is named after The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple.

<i>The Donation of Constantine</i> (painting)

The Donation of Constantine or Donation of Rome is a painting by assistants of the Italian renaissance artist Raphael. It was most likely painted by Gianfrancesco Penni or Giulio Romano, somewhere between 1520 and 1524. After the master's death in 1520, they worked together with other members of Raphael's workshop to finish the commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The Donation of Constantine is located in the Sala di Costantino. It was inspired by the famous forged documents that supposedly granted the Popes sovereignty over Rome's territorial dominions.

This is an index of Vatican City–related topics.

<i>Cardinal and Theological Virtues</i> (Raphael) Fresco by Raphael

The Cardinal and Theological Virtues is a lunette fresco by Raphael found on the south wall of the Stanza della Segnatura in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican. Three of the cardinal virtues are personified as statuesque women seated in a bucolic landscape and the theological virtues are depicted by putti. The fresco was a part of Raphael's commission to decorate the private apartments of Pope Julius II. These rooms are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello. After completing his three monumental frescoes Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, The Parnassus, and The School of Athens in the Stanza della Segnatura, Raphael painted the Cardinal and Theological Virtues in 1511.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Renaissance</span> Renaissance in Rome

The Renaissance in Rome occupied a period from the mid-15th to the mid-16th centuries, a period which spawned such masters as Michelangelo and Raphael, who left an indelible mark on Western figurative art. The city had been a magnet for artists wishing to study its classical ruins since the early 1400s. A revived interest in the Classics brought about the first archaeological study of Roman remains by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi and sculptor Donatello. This inspired a corresponding classicism in painting and sculpture, which manifested itself in the paintings of Masaccio and Uccello. Pisanello and his assistants also frequently took inspiration from ancient remains, but their approach was essentially cataloguing, acquiring a repertoire of models to be exploited later.

<i>The Hall of the Saints</i> (Pinturicchio) Room in the Borgia Apartment of the Vatican Palace

The Hall of the Saints or the Sala dei Santi is a room in the Borgia Apartment of the Vatican Palace, frescoed by the Italian Renaissance artist, Pinturicchio. It dates to 1491–1494 and was commissioned by Pope Alexander VI. The frescoes depict scenes from the lives of the saints. The ceiling fresco, which depicts myths related to the ancient Egyptian gods Osiris and Isis, has been the subject of much scholarly attention. The iconographic program reflects the humanistic interests of Alexander and was likely designed by his secretary, Giovanni Annio of Viterbo.

References