The magnificent painting of the Transfiguration, which hangs in the Vatican Museums, was the last work of Raphael, one of the giants of the Renaissance, who died on April 6th 1520, at the age of only thirty-seven.
The painting (410 x 280 cm) was commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, the future Pope Clement VII (r. 1523-34), for the cathedral of Narbonne in France. However, the painting never left Rome. The cardinal donated it to the church of San Pietro in Montorio, where it adorned the high altar until 1797.
The artist and art historian Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) described Raphael's painting as 'la più celebrata, la più bella e la più divina' ('the most celebrated, the most beautiful and the most divine').
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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