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Enjoy Jane’s skilled narration, as she brings  Raphael Sanzio’s frescoes to life

Parnassus, Raphael    
Stanza della Segnatura
Vatican Museums
Rome, Italy

Dispute Over The Sacrament

Raphael, Stanza della Segnatura
Vatican Museums
Rome, Italy

School of Athens

Raphael, Stanza della Segnatura
Vatican Museums
Rome, Italy

Cardinal VirtuesRaphael, Stanza della Segnatura
Vatican Museums
Rome, Italy

Audio Guide to the Stanza della Segnatura at the Vatican
and its Remarkable Fresco Cycle

Raffaello Sanzio’s frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican, in Rome, are hardly more than fifty yards from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. Together, these pictorial masterpieces estab­lished a standard of quality and invention that was to become the gauge of artistic achievement for the next four hundred years of European painting.

The magnificent frescoes in the four Raphael Rooms – the Stanze di Raffaello -- in the Vatican Museums in Rome, are among the greatest achievements in the history of art.

The Stanza della Segnatura was the first of the rooms that Raphael decorated upon his arrival in Rome in 1508.  Now -- with this audio tour -- when you visit the Vatican Museums you can experience the ground-breaking fresco paintings guided by the scholarship of a well-known art historian.  

Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura is the exclusive audiobook adaptation of the popular book  in The Great Fresco Cycles of the Renaissance series, written by James Beck, Professor of Art History at Columbia University and a renowned Renaissance scholar.

In this engaging audio tour, Jane’s narration reveals the historic context, the lofty humanist ideals, and the artistic genius that coincided to create Raphael’s epic panoramic fresco paintings.

To review the companion booklet, click here.

Like all Jane’s Smart Art Guides, this audio guide to Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura, in the Vatican, in Rome, is divided into two parts: a background context segment for listening before arriving at the Vatican Museums, and the on-site tour of the Stanza della Segnatura. There is also an Appendix that provides extra detail about the figures depicted in the School of Athens panorama.

  • Context Guide "Slice of History" ... 30 minutes

  • On-site Guide to Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura ... 60 minutes

  • School of Athens Appendix ... 20 minutes

Learn more about the contents of this Jane’s Smart Art Guides audio guide to the Stanza della Segnatura at the Vatican    

product details

Audio Guide to the Stanza della Segnatura at the Vatican
and its Remarkable Fresco Cycle

Downloadable for MP3 / iPod
Price: $8.95

Two years after laying the foundation stone for the new Basilica of St. Peter, Pope Julius II called Raffaelo Sanzio to Rome to decorate his private rooms in the Vatican Palace. Julius II was unwilling to use the quarters that had been decorated by his predecessor and nemesis, Pope Alexander VI Borgia, and he wished to create his own, according to his specifications. This is how the pictorial programs of the Raphael Rooms – the Stanze di Raffaelo – were conceived. In her narration about the Stanza della Segnatura, Jane points out that Pope Julius IIs vision, his per­sonality, and his desires are key ingredients for understanding the frescoes.
At the time Raphael painted the frescoes, the Stanza della Segnatura was intended to serve as the private library of Julius II, and this offers another key to the appreciation of the intricate fresco program depicted by Raphael.
The vaulted structure of the ceiling was the first part of the Stanza della Segnatura to be painted, and it was probably conceived to be the first surface we see as we enter, before our eyes move down to the frescoes on the four walls. Accordingly, the themes described on the ceiling introduce the themes of the panoramic frescoes on the walls below, one of which, The School of Athens, is considered to be one of Raphael’s masterpieces.
Raphael’s design for the ceiling was outlined by an intricate pattern of elaborate, illusionary tromp l’oeil (“fool the eye”) frames into which he set his figural representations-- the allegorical personifications of Justice, Theology, Poetry, and Philosophy.
By the time Raphael began his work here, there was already a tradition in Renaissance fresco cycle painting known as uomini famosi, that is, famous men. In keeping with that tradition, depicted in the frescoes on the walls of the Stanza della Segnatura are many of the historical figures whose writings were held in the Pope’s collection.

Part of the pleasure of looking at these frescoes, peopled as they are by contemporary and historical figures, is trying to determine who’s who. In her narration, Jane returns to this question frequently.

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