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Raphael in numbers: 6-fingered pope, half-a-billion-euro exhibition, and 3000 gold coins he paid to get his sweetheart

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The figures won’t explain why Raphael was equally revered by the pontiffs, monarchs and commoners. But they will help us realize how much this amazing artist managed to do in his short life.
Rafael was 25 years old when he became the official painter of the papal court.

13 arcades decorated with 52 frescoes on biblical subjects were built in the courtyard of the Vatican: the original sketches of them were made by Raphael. These loggias are unofficially called Raphael’s Bible.

20 artists who painted the front rooms of the papal palace were fired after the pontiff Julius II saw Raphael’s work The School of Athens. Later, Vatican Stanzas (from the Italian stanza — room) were painted by Rafael and his disciples. By the way, among the fired ones there was one of the first teachers of Raphael — Pietro Perugino.

56 figures can be found on The School of Athens fresco. Among them are ancient Greek philosophers, many of whom Raphael gave the features of his contemporaries. So, for example, Plato looks like Leonardo da Vinci, Heraclitus resembles Michelangelo, and the painter Apelles is like Raphael himself.
More than 40 Madonnas were painted by Raphael during his short, but surprisingly fruitful life.

According to a popular version, Pope Sixtus II, depicted by Raphael in The Sistine Madonna painting has 6 fingers on his right hand. If you look closely, you can see that the "sixth finger" is part of the inner side of the palm. Still, those enjoying searching for secret symbols continue to insist that Raphael thus emphasizes that it is the bishop of Rome, Saint Sixtus (i.e., the sixth).

The Sistine Madonna (fragment with the seeming finger)
Elector of Saxony August III spent 2 years at the monastery, negotiating the purchase of The Sistine Madonna. In those years the picture was not so well known yet, but Augustus wanted to get into his collection at least some of Raphael’s works. The monastery jacked up an unprecedented for the then-art market price of 25 thousand Roman scudi. When the parties had already agreed on the price, the Duke of Parma, who was strongly against the export of the painting from Italy, intervened in the matter. August had to engage in diplomatic relations. In the end, the deal was approved by the Pope himself, and in 1754 the Madonna arrived in Dresden. According to the legend, when the picture was brought to the residence of the Elector, the latter himself moved his throne with the words "Make space for the great Raphael!"

In 1821 Vasily Zhukovsky spent 1 hour standing (or rather, sitting on the sofa) in front of The Sistine Madonna in the Dresden Gallery. It took him so much time to experience catharsis and come up with the phrase "the genius of the purest grace", which would later become iconic, being used by Pushkin. "I clearly began to feel the soul was spreading; some touching feeling of greatness was part of it; the image was unimaginable to it, and it was there, where it could be only in the best moments of life. The genius of the purest grace was with it," Zhukovsky described his experience.

The Sistine Madonna was in the USSR for 10 years. In May 1945, the Soviet military found it together with other paintings in an abandoned quarry, 30 kilometers from Dresden. After the war, the picture was kept in the storerooms of the Pushkin Museum. In 1955, the Sistine Madonna was shown to the Moscow public, after which it, together with other masterpieces of the Dresden collection, was handed over to the authorities of the GDR.
Raphael Sanzio. The Sistine Madonna
The Sistine Madonna
1513, 269.5×201 cm
According to popular legend, Rafael spent 3000 gold coins to buy his Roman beloved Fornarina from her father, baker Francesco Luti. Fornarina was Raphael’s constant model; most researchers agree that she served as a prototype of the Sistine Madonna and other female images created by the artist in the Roman period.

136.57 meters from the floor of the basilica to the top of the external cross — this is the total height of the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican. It is the tallest dome in the world. Raphael was appointed chief architect of the cathedral in 1514.

Raphael’s Head of a Young Apostle, a sketch of the painting Transfiguration, was sold at Sotheby’s auction for £29,721,250.
500 000 000 Euros is the insurance value of 11 works exhibited in 2016 in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts at the exhibition "Raphael. Poetry of the Image."

500 000 Italian lire is the note containing Raphael’s images.
At least 6 times, Pope Leo X sent to inquire about the health of Rafael during his illness, which lasted 15 days.

Raphael was 37 years old, when he died in Rome in 1520. Modern researchers believe that death could come as a result of fever, which the artist contracted while visiting excavations. Although the artist’s contemporary Giorgio Vasari proclaimed that Rafael died "after spending time even more meretriciously than usual".

Andrii Zymohliadov
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